WINSTON COUNTY - The lack of high speed broadband service at Winston County’s 800 acre mega industrial park site is one of the top reasons industries will not locate at the site, which has remained vacant since it was formed in 2007.
The spotty high-speed internet service throughout Winston County, and the lack of it, at the county’s industrial park, has been a major topic discussed at recent joint meetings of the Industrial Development Authority and Winston County Cooperative Improvement District.
Kristi Bain, director of the Winston County Economic Development Authority, has stated high speed internet is vital anywhere, but is a major key in economic development.
“Everybody needs it...but as you are attracting more people, and people are working remotely, people need to work, even when they are at home, even if they are not working remotely...you need internet,” Bain stated.
“That is one of the first three questions, when we apply to recruit a business, is broadband or high speed internet available on this site,” Bain pointed out.
“Broadband is probably one of the top needs, that we need to grow our economic development, because, whether it’s the robots needed to run the automated equipment, or it’s simply that these companies are connected to other headquarters somewhere else, they have got to be able to run systems that talk to each other,” Bain continued.
“Or it may simply be bringing in a restaurant, that needs to run Visa machines, so that people can pay with their debit card,” she said.
“If you don’t have the internet, you can’t run that machine.”
Concerning Winston County’s industrial park site off Highway 13, located only six miles from Interstate 22, Bain said that Winston County immediately needs high speed internet service at least to the industrial park entrance on Highway 13.
High speed internet at the industrial park site has been compared to the top three ingredients on the label of a food product, according to Bain.
“The first three questions on a Request to Fill Information on a site, so when you’re requesting a company to come, they are going to ask you questions,” Bain explained.
“One of their top three questions is, do you have the internet or the broadband to support our functions, and you have to go, No I’m sorry, then you are immediately checked off the list, and your application is done,” Bain pointed out.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.