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PANGAEA Internet Public Wi-Fi Network Expanding

TRYON, NC / April 13, 2016 As part of its continuing commitment to enhance economic development and improve the quality of life in our community, PANGAEA Internet (PANGAEA), the leading commercial provider of high-speed fiber optic internet service for Polk and Rutherford Counties, is preparing to expand its efforts to deliver Public Wi-Fi in the PANGAEA service area.

After a successful pilot project in downtown Tryon last year, a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) enabled PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi to expand to the downtown business districts of Chimney Rock Village, Lake Lure, and Saluda. This network expansion was completed on March 31st with such efficiency that grant funds remained, allowing PANGAEA to extend Public Wi-Fi to downtown Columbus and Tryon’s Harmon Field. Work on those projects will begin this summer.

“We are pleased to bring PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi to Tryon, Chimney Rock Village, Lake Lure, Saluda and soon to downtown Columbus and Harmon Field,” said Ron Walters, Executive Director of PANGAEA Internet. “By coming in under budget on the initial network, we are able to extend the network to these additional locations.” Walters pointed out that there is no charge to use PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi in any of the areas where it is available.

“I am amazed by the performance and high usage of this network,” said Stu Davidson, PANGAEA’s Operations Director. “By carefully planning our equipment placement to maximize signal strength and coverage, we are able to serve large numbers of users very efficiently.”

PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi is made possible by a partnership between ARC, the Towns, and PANGAEA to purchase and deploy the equipment necessary to build the network. PANGAEA provides the ongoing Wi-Fi service as part of its nonprofit community focus. Currently, PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi averages over 2,500 users per week. The network is prepared to support increased usage as warmer weather brings an increase in tourism to the region.

Residents and visitors to these communities can access the network by simply selecting “PANGAEA Public Wi-Fi” from the Wi-Fi settings of their phone, tablet, or laptop. After selecting “continue,” users will be transferred to the Towns’ web page.

PANGAEA Internet (pan-GEE-ah) is a non-profit provider of “Speed of Light” fiber optic internet service. Our network currently serves customers at more than 150 locations across Polk and Rutherford Counties, including public school districts, city and county governments, health care facilities, and local businesses. Visit us online at, or contact Executive Director Ron Walters at 828-859-3072.




What’s Happening at PANGAEA Internet (March 2016)



Read more about PANGAEA Internet’s community impact, Wi-Fi and network projects, board members and more in our 2015 Community Impact Report (click here).

Fiber Optics are “Green”
Fiber is good for the environment. The requirements to send an electrical signal over miles of wiring is typically dozens of times the amount of energy needed to send a brief flash of light over the same distance via fiber optical cabling. A lower energy requirement means a lower carbon footprint and lower price of operation, which can be enjoyed by network owners and their customers alike.

Click HERE to test your internet speed.

New Customer Referral Program

PANGAEA Internet will launch an exciting new customer referral program on April 1, 2016.

Program details are coming soon.

Board Officers

Jim Edwards, President
Joe Crowder, Secretary
Harry Grymes, Treasurer

Board Directors

Jeff Byrd
Steve Garrison
Marche Pittman
Russ Pitts


Ron Walters, Executive Director
Stu Davidson, Operations Director
Ken Griffin, Network Engineer
Carolyn Whitehead, Office Administrator

Contract Support

Jody Gill, CPA, Accounting & Reporting
Sean O’Connell, Network Technician

Breakthrough Chiropractic Clinic, PA
Foothills Animal Clinic!

Both are recent recipients of a PANGAEA Internet grant.
The grant funds assisted with installation costs for our “Speed of Light” fiber optic internet service.







Read more about this program and submit an application on the Grant Application page of our website.

Testimonial Winners

Congratulations to our testimonial winners who received
a $200 Invoice Credit
Richard Hendricks of Tanner Companies, LLC
Keven Johnson of Wayne Wire Die Company

See what Richard, Keven and other customers have to say on the Testimonial Page of our website.
If you haven’t already submitted a customer testimonial, please take a few minutes and give us your feedback. Just click this link and provide a few sentences regarding how PANGAEA Internet has impacted your organization. The drawing is conducted quarterly.

2016 New Customers

Jay’s Lawn Service (Avery Creek Nursery) (Columbus)
Blue Ridge Community Health Services (Columbus)
Carolina Plumbing (Rutherfordton)
Midway Baptist Church (Columbus)
Chuck Taylor, CPA (Tryon)
Easley Appellate Practice PLLC (Tryon)
McCurry Deck Motors, Inc. (Forest City)
Sustainable Impact, LLC (Tryon)
B4WorldView (Columbus)
Breakthrough Chiropractic Clinic, PA (Spindale)
Foothills Animal Clinic (Forest City)
The MVP Service, LLC (Lake Lure)

Aerial Fiber Installation

Installation of aerial fiber along Highway 108 in Columbus has been completed and PANGAEA can now serve additional business customers between Polk County High School and Dr. Lonnie Lassiter’s Office in Columbus, NC. Two new customers are already enjoying our fast and reliable service: Midway Baptist Church and Jay’s Lawn Service (Avery Creek Nursery).

PANGAEA Internet’s “Speed of Light” network
makes virtually unlimited speeds possible!
Please contact us for a quote.


It’s lightning fast

I just wanted to say thanks and we LOVE PANGAEA! It’s the easiest swap we’ve ever made, and it’s lightning fast. It takes at least one stress out of our work day.
Dr. Gretchen Kelly, Foothills Animal Clinic, Forest City, NC

Scholarship Produces Quick Results




PANGAEA Internet Scholarship Produces Quick Results

TRYON, NC / March 3, 2016 – In December, 2015, PANGAEA Internet (PANGAEA), the leading commercial provider of high-speed fiber optic internet service for Polk and Rutherford Counties, awarded scholarships for two local individuals to receive training in fiber optic splicing at a four-day course in Spartanburg, SC. The training has already made it possible for one of the recipients, Mr. T. J. Byers of Forest City, to launch a new career. Mr. Byers was hired as a communications technician with Integrated Electrical Services.

“Taking this class taught me the basics and gave me a competitive advantage because I knew how to terminate, splice and test fiber,” said Mr. Byers. “I hope to advance my career and pursue leadership opportunities in the future.” Byers also said that the course provided him with a strong foundation of the skills required to properly design, install, and maintain a fiber optic network.

Dana Conner of Conner Computer Consultants, Inc. of Rutherfordton, also received a scholarship and commented, “I had never had any hands on experience with terminating or testing fiber. This course provided a good basis for understanding those techniques and how to troubleshoot issues with fiber connections.”

According to Ron Walters, Executive Director of PANGAEA, fiber optic splicing technicians are in short supply in rural areas such as Polk and Rutherford Counties. “This shortage impacts the ability of internet service providers, telephone companies and cable companies to install, maintain, and repair their fiber optic infrastructures,” said Walters. The scholarships provided by PANGAEA gave recipients the opportunity to complete the fiber optic splicing training course, as well as earn professional certification through the Electronics Technicians Association.

PANGAEA sought scholarship applicants who possessed strong technical backgrounds, a demonstrated desire to learn, motivation to succeed in a demanding but rewarding field, and a clearly defined goal of using their new skills for professional development. The average annual pay of a fiber optic splicing technician is $56,000 or $26/hour, according to “Job training is a high priority in Polk and Rutherford Counties,” said Walters. “With the decline in our community’s traditional industries, acquiring the skills needed to enter well-paying technology-based careers is tremendously beneficial. Providing these scholarships is a natural part of PANGAEA’s mission, which serves to enhance economic development and improve the quality of life in our area.”

To learn more about PANGAEA’s non-profit mission to deliver affordable, reliable connectivity and services to our region, visit


PANGAEA Internet (pan-GEE-ah) is a non-profit provider of high-speed fiber optic internet service. Our network consists of 240 miles of fiber optic lines and currently serves 130 customers across Polk and Rutherford Counties, including public school districts, city and county governments, health care facilities, and local businesses. Visit us online at, or contact Executive Director Ron Walters at 828-859-3072 or


It is really nice to deal with local folks

I was very pleased with the response to our request to obtain the PANGAEA service. They came out immediately and within 1 week we were hooked up and going. The service is so much faster than our previous vendor could ever hope to supply and is less expensive to boot! All of our staff is able to use the internet readily and we no longer have to reboot our router 25 times a day. It is also really nice to deal with local folks that you can get to know and work with on a regular basis.
Lee Lindsay, Steps to Hope, Columbus, NC

8 years and zero interruptions to service

It’s a rock solid service with near zero downtime. I’ve been with them 8 years now and have had zero interruptions to service. Highly recommend to any business wanting a professional connection.
Tom Roberson, City Computer, Forest City, NC

Service and up-time has never been an issue

I have been handling our small company’s daily IT chores for several years and recently took over management of our accounts. I have to say that the name PANGAEA doesn’t come up at all in my daily tasks, thankfully. The service and up-time provided has never been an issue that affected our normal daily operations. That is very important with all of the cloud based accounts that we utilize now.
Chris Spratt, Diamondback Tactical, Spindale, NC

The speed and reliability rival any other options

We have been using PANGAEA at our office since 2011 and consider it an important tool. The speed & reliability rival any other options. Thanks for being in our community.
Kathy Toomey, New View Realty, Tryon, NC

PANGAEA is a top shelf internet service provider

I appreciate the level of speed and the consistency of connectivity. In my opinion, PANGAEA is a top shelf Internet service provider.
Matt Bright, Bright Asset Management, Forest City, NC

The internet speed is wonderful

The switch over from AT&T to PANGAEA was quite simple. Their workers made the transition of service seamless. I was most impressed that we had no down time and have had no problems with the service. The internet speed is wonderful!!
Faye Hassell, United Way of Rutherford County, Inc., Spindale, NC

Dependability and connectivity are crucial; PANGAEA is exactly what we were looking for

Dependability and connectivity are crucial in our business. With our old internet provider, we were constantly having issues with outages and equipment failures. We have been with PANGAEA for a little over a year now and we have not been down once! This is exactly what we were looking for!
John Harrill, Drop-In Food Stores, Forest City, NC 28043

Because of PANGAEA, we are on the edge of the newest technology for our area

At the Chamber, we frequently get positive comments on our fast internet speed when we host meetings and seminars. It is a great service to offer visitors to our facility. Because of PANGAEA Internet, we on the edge of the newest technology for our area at the Chamber of Commerce. This is a “must” in attracting new members, and helping the Chamber continue to be a viable organization that benefits businesses in the community.
Janet Sciacca, Carolina Foothills Chamber of Commerce, Tryon, NC

We have never had internet downtime; I would recommend PANGAEA

PANGAEA is an excellent internet provider. We have never had any internet downtime since we joined their service. They also plan to increase their already fast speeds without any additional cost to us, which I think is an excellent bonus. I would recommend PANGAEA to any business or individual seeking fast and reliable internet service.
Samuel Staton, Staton CPA, P.C., Rutherfordton, NC

Down time just doesn’t happen

PANGAEA works great. Definitely the best service in Rutherford County. Down time just doesn’t happen.
Chuck Haynes, Carolina Insurance, Forest City, NC

PANGAEA has changed the way we do business

PANGAEA has changed the way we do business. PANGAEA’s speed and reliability has allowed us to confidently offer internal services between our operations that were not reliable enough to do before PANGAEA! Installation and technical help after installation have been stellar. A sincere thank you to the PANGAEA Team!
Kevin Johnson, Wayne Wire Die Co., Columbus, NC

PANGAEA provides the quality of service that no one else in the community is able to provide

PANGAEA continues to grow and provide increasing bandwidth to its customers to allow us to keep up with the growing need for bandwidth. They are providing the quality of service that no one else in the community is able to provide and that is becoming increasingly necessary for a business to remain competitive.
Dana Conner, Conner Computer Consultants, Rutherfordton, NC

PANGAEA has increased our productivity and connections with the customers we serve

KCH Engineered Systems was likely one of the first businesses in Rutherford County to install PANGAEA Internet Fiber service. The speed and reliability was instantly leaps and bounds beyond any local alternatives. It has truly increased our productivity and connections with the customers we serve throughout the United States, and we continue to see that to this day.
Kyle Hankinson, KCH Engineered Systems, Forest City, NC

I would recommend PANGAEA to everyone

The customer service is excellent. The few times I have had to call Stu is right there when we need him! I would recommend PANGAEA to everyone!
Kelly McGowen, Gaming Tickets, Inc., Columbus, NC

Our business depends on PANGAEA

Excellent, dependable service. Our business depends on it!
Betty Ramsey, Tryon Newsmedia, Tryon, NC

Your presence in these under-served counties has made a huge difference

PANGAEA provides Skyrunner, Inc. with backbone services in 2 counties. You have always been easy to work with, fast to respond to problems, and committed to giving us the quality and quantity of bandwidth we need to provide Internet service to over 400 wireless customers. Your presence in these under-served counties has made a huge difference to these mostly rural users. Thank you!
Art Mandler, Skyrunner, Asheville, NC