Mary Alice Reporting – Tuscarawas County is part of a limited pilot program that aims to find gaps in broadband access and how to address that.

Through Ohio Broadband, the Tuscarawas Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) is partnering in a fast-track initiative to build a plan to expand broadband across the county.

The local geography is unique but it creates inconsistencies for high-speed internet options, says Executive Director Marla Akridge.

“To figure out how to get broadband to residential families, businesses, and farmers. [The] plan too with this is to figure out where the gaps are where there isn’t any access and a lot of that’s because the topography, capacity, or not enough houses.”

As a way to gather information from local residents and businesses, a quick survey is available at www.tuscedc.com/connectusc.

“The more people that we can have take the survey it will help us determine, short-term and long-term, where we deploy fiber, broadband, or fixed wireless.  Broadband is transformational in your home, schools, non-profits, and businesses.”

She adds that it’s essential for survey participants to answer the questions on their local internet connection and not throughout a cell phone or other hotspot unless that is the only internet they have.

Once the data is gathered, Akridge points out that there is a chance for state-level funding and the comprehensive plan would be available to municipalities to help with other matching grant opportunities.

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