More surveys on broadband filled out than expected, officials say

Local News

As part of efforts to establish a new broadband network in Franklin County, officials are conducting a survey about Internet access, and they say they have received more responses than expected.

“We have actually had people come and were ready to move here and decided not to because our Internet service is pretty sparse here,” said Stephen Thomas, director of information technology for Franklin County.

Some areas of the county have limited or no Internet access, Thomas said. County leaders are trying to figure out which areas are in need of high-speed Internet, he said, so earlier this year, they released a survey to families.

“We will have a better sense of what kinds of connections we have, where those connections are, and then that will help us to identify where there are potential gaps,” said Chuck Kirby, chief operations analyst for Franklin County.

The county partnered with the Franklin County Public Schools to get the survey to as many people as possible, distributing it to all 7,300 students for their families to fill out, Kirby said. At least ten percent of the county has already participated in the survey, he added, which is much more feedback than expected.

“When they came back in such high numbers, we stepped up again, and our teachers, our students…they’re now entering that information so we can get some accurate data,” said Mark Church, division superintendent for Franklin County Public Schools.

Church said he is excited for what a broadband network could bring to the county and its students.

“We have some students hanging outside the school to tap into our wireless so that they can do homework or do whatever it is that they’re trying to do,” he said. “So this will be an important step forward in our education.”

If you have not completed a survey, you should do so this week, Kirby said. Only one survey should be filled out per household, he added.

To complete the survey, click here.

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