- Anyone looking to give their input on internet service in the county can visit bit.ly/3nJY9PL.
There’s about four streets in Clay Township where broadband internet isn’t available, Clay Township Supervisor Artie Bryson said. He’s been pitching Comcast about expanding on those streets. And Bryson has asked residents to take a survey for the county about the quality of their internet services.
“More people are working at home remotely, and education, it’s almost getting to be a necessity like electricity or water and sewer I believe,” Bryson said. “It’s a real hindrance for the people that don’t have it.”
St. Clair County wants input from residents about the local internet service. The St. Clair County Broadband Committee formed in 2012, and is working with the nonprofit Connect Michigan to collect information about the availability and quality of internet service in the county.
“As part of this effort a Technology Action Plan was developed in 2013 which includes recommended actions for enhancing access to broadband,” St. Clair County Metropolitan Planning Associate Planner Peter Klomparens wrote in an email. “The plan is now seven years old and the committee is beginning the process of updating it.”
The partnership has been ongoing for a few years, and Connect Michigan has released a survey for St. Clair County residents about their internet usage.
“What their current connectivity is, who their provider is, what kinds of speeds they’re getting, how do they use the internet, what kind of applications do they use, lots of information about that,” Connect Michigan Community Technology Adviser Dan Manning said.
This data will be combined with existing data collected from broadband providers to assemble a picture of where issues like broadband dead spots should be addressed. The data can then be taken to broadband service providers in hopes of making a business case for expansion in undeserved areas, Manning said. When a business case cannot be made, the Connect Michigan may help seek out other funding such as grants to make the project viable.
Population density can be a limiting factor for broadband expansion in more rural communities, given the expense of laying fiber optic cable, Manning said. Wireless and satellite internet solutions exist, and can sometimes provide an alternative to laying a physical cable, Manning said. Getting the cost right for consumers is also key to expanding broadband acess.
“A lot of people who live in these rural areas can’t afford $100 per month for internet services,” Manning said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has placed greater emphasis on the availability of high speed internet due to applications in education, telehealth services and retail.
Anyone looking to give their input on internet service in the county can visit bit.ly/3nJY9PL.
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Contact Jeremy Ervin at (810) 989-6273 or email@example.com.Follow him on Twitter @ErvinJeremy.