Augusta County residents continue to seek high-speed internet
AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Local leaders continue to seek broadband access for their residents.
Augusta County published a survey in July to gain information about internet availability in the county. The survey closed mid-July, and results are now available online.
Jennifer Whetzel, Deputy County Administrator, says this is the third survey over access they’ve done. Whetzel says they have received a high volume of responses, so they’re confident in the findings.
Whetzel says the pandemic highlighted how crucial internet access is, and how most residents tend to use internet for every facet of life.
“Every single option that they had to check, whether it was education, shopping, work, it was used all the time,” she said.
The results show much of the community has internet access, but they tend to struggle with speed. Whetzel says it’s hard to provide broadband in Augusta County because of geography.
“We are a large locality, so we have a lot of mountains and hills and topography that are challenging for us also,” Whetzel said. “Geographically, there are people that feel like they’re left without high speed internet because it’s hard to get to them.”
Whetzel says surveys like this one will be used to write grants. They’ll work with local providers to get them money to expand their services.
“This particular survey will be used for a grant in 2022 and even beyond that if we don’t get this particular grant,” she said.
Whetzel says the results were expected. Their focus now is to get internet to all parts of the county.
“I think our main challenge is that we need to get internet to those that don’t have it, or that are underserved, so that’s the first priority. Then beyond that, it would just be allowing people to have more competition and more options for internet,” she said.
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