Patrick County residents fight for better access to broadband internet service

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STUART, Va. (WDBJ) -- At Terry's Wrecker Service and Body Shop, good connection is never taken for granted.

"The area we're in is, they call like a dead end zone, kind of," said co-owner Ronnie Terry.

That means Terry goes in to work every day not knowing if the internet will cooperate.

"Our estimating program is online, so here in the last few months, several times somebody comes by and we need to write an estimate, we sit here and we can't connect," Terry said. "We can't write anything, so we gotta say, 'Well, I'll get it to ya.'"

Terry's is one of multiple local businesses that are impacted by weak, or sometimes non-existent, internet speeds.

It's why the county has formed a broadband committee that is set to address the board on Monday.

"It will kill property values. It will kill getting new economic development," said committee chair Steve Terry, referring to the current state of internet service in the county.

Steve Terry said connection is especially bad where he lives in Meadows of Dan.

With little wiggle room in the county budget, Steve Terry said a small tax increase could help the county qualify for grants.

"We're not talking about some kind of monkey business," he said. "We're talking about something that impacts the whole county. We're talking about something that impacts us for the foreseeable future."

In the meantime, businesses like Terry's Body Shop have learned to simply make do.

"Keep on doing the best you can and take some phone numbers and call 'em back," Ronnie Terry said.

The Patrick County Board of Supervisors will meet on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Patrick County Administration Building, located at 106 Rucker Street, Stuart, Virginia.