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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