LAMAR, S.C. – Lamar is now online.
Spectrum, the trade name of Charter Communications, the purchaser of Time Warner cable, held a launch event Tuesday afternoon at the Lamar library to mark the debut of its high-speed internet in the community in southeastern Darlington County.
Among the speakers at the event were state Sen. Gerald Malloy, South Carolina House Speaker James “Jay” Lucas, Darlington County Council Chairman Bobby Hudson— a former mayor of Lamar— and Darlington County School District Board Chairman Warren Jeffords, whose district includes Lamar.
Ben Breazeale, senior director of state government affairs for Charter, said the project came to life through the efforts of Hudson.
“It’s truly a great day because it’s got a story to it,” Breazeale said. “Chairman Bobby Hudson used to be the mayor of Lamar; South Carolina started talking to us 10 years ago about being connected to the town of Lamar.”
Ten years ago, Breazeale said, he didn’t even know where Lamar was.
“I know Lamar very well now,” Breazeale said. “I think I know every house in Lamar.”
Hudson, Breazeale added, even called him on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day.
Even during his time as mayor, Hudson said, he realized that high-speed internet wasn’t a luxury but a necessity. He added that he hoped the internet connection would help the community to grow. He said people from Florence, seeking a more quiet setting, were moving in and building $300,000-$500,000 houses in the community.
Hudson also praised the Spectrum team that installed the service.
“Bobby Hudson who just came up [to speak],” Lucas said. “Politicians, statesmen, they ask for things and they’ll ask for them for a month, maybe a year, maybe a year and a half, but after that they get tired. Bobby Hudson for 10 years he advocated to bring high-speed internet to Lamar. Most people would have quit.”
Lucas congratulated Hudson and said it was a big day for Hudson and thanked him for “bird-dogging” the project.
Breazeale said that Lucas told him to use his name in whatever way helped to bring the connection of high-speed to the community. He added that the community wasn’t even in Lucas’ district.
Lucas also joked that there were more people in the crowd attending the launch event than voted for him in his first election.
Malloy, whose Senate district includes Lamar, added that now children who don’t have the opportunity to travel and explore the world can use Spectrum’s internet service to bring the world to them.
Jeffords added that the children of Lamar would be able to take advantage of the district’s one-to-one policy of providing a tablet for each student.
The connection of Lamar represents a $1 million investment by the company. According to officials speaking, the technology used in Lamar makes the community the most up-to-date in infrastructure technology in the Palmetto State.
The connection is available for 700 residents.
Prior to the connection via fiber from Darlington, Lamar’s residents were limited to internet connections by Frontier Communications. Frontier, according to BroadbandNow.com, offers speeds of up to 24 MB per second.
The new Spectrum service will offer around 120 MB per second, according to BroadbandNow.com.
Additionally, homes in Lamar will have access to Spectrum TV and Spectrum Voice services.
Spectrum Voice delivers reliable home phone service with unlimited calling in the U.S, Canada, Puerto Rico and Mexico; up to 28 popular calling features; and no added fees.
With the launch of Spectrum Internet, the company is also introducing Spectrum Internet Assist to the community. The internet assist service is a low-cost, high-speed broadband service for qualifying families and seniors.
The service delivers industry-leading 30/4 Mbps broadband speeds for $14.99 per month, up to three times faster than comparable services offered by competitors, and exceeds the Federal Communication Commission’s definition of “high-speed.” Users can expect standard features like email boxes, internet security software and a modem at no additional charge.
According to figures presented, for the company to make money 300 customers need to sign up for the service.
Lucas encouraged those who were in five areas selected to receive the service.
The company had five laptops on display at the library to demonstrate the high-speed service and provided Kona Ice to those attending the event.
The event included the giving away of five laptops to winners randomly selected by speakers and the donation of 40 laptops to the Lamar library, 20 laptops to Darlington County, and three iPads to the Lamar Police Department for the winners of a contest to design a new patch for the department that depicts the history of the community.
Charter Communications announced the intention to bring its services to the community in late November 2018.