EDA requests help with broadband project

“In today’s information-driven global economy, e-connectivity is not simply an amenity – it has become essential. E-connectivity, or electronic connectivity, is more than just connecting households, schools, and healthcare centers to each other as well as the rest of the world through high-speed Internet. It is also a tool that enables increased productivity for farms, factories, forests, mining, and small businesses. E-connectivity is fundamental for economic development, innovation, advanecments in technology, workforce readiness, and an improved quality of life. Reliable and affordable high-speed Internet connectivity will transform rural America as a key catalyst for prosperity.” – Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture, October 21, 2017

The Claxton-Evans County Economic Development Authority (EDA) continues to work towards completion and submission of an application for a 100 percent broadband grant through USDA’s Rural e-Connectivity Pilot Program. If approved, the local EDA can be granted up to $25 million for a rural broadband project.

Members of the authority are requesting the help from the citizens of Evans County towards this goal, which will help the community in a wide range of areas.

The EDA is asking for your help with collecting vital information to be submitted with the application. If you are a citizen of, or own a business in, Evans County, please visit their website https://www.claxtonevanseda.comand click on the red bar that says “WE NEED YOUR HELP” where you will find the following:

How can you help? It’s simple. Just fill out the form with your address information and note whether you are a residential Internet user, a commercial Internet customer, or do not have access to high-speed Internet at your home or business. Then, follow the on-screen instructions to take a speed test of your Internet connection. This information will be used to both determine interest and prove the need for an expansion of broadband service in our area. We can then utilize this information to apply for grants and other funding initiatives. 

“The need for speed test data is important in our case,” said Michael Smith, Chairman of the EDA’s Broadband subcommittee, “because grant requirements include use of FCC data supplied by the service providers, and that data appears inaccurate. When community members and businesses complete the speed test on the EDA website, it will provide documentation to show how accurate, or inaccurate, the current data regarding local Internet speed is.”

“It is important that everyone do the speed test from their home network,” added Smith. “It’s fine to use a smart phone or tablet, but it MUST be connected to the local Wi-Fi network. If you use a smart phone to take the speed test and you are NOT connected to your Wi-Fi then the data would be collected based on your cellular connection, instead of the internet speed at your home or business.”

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By Julie Braly, Editor