The Center for Rural Development recently completed a broadband speed test in Harlan County and the data collected will be used to document the areas of need where many citizens may have little to no access to reliable and affordable internet. The Center worked with GEO Partners, LLC to provide the speed test in an effort to obtain an accurate assessment of the current quality of internet access and affordability. This crowd-sourcing project is set to provide the most comprehensive, accurate collection of actual broadband speeds ever conducted in Harlan County.
Now that the data collection period has ended, the data is being evaluated and will result in statistically valid data and mapping. With this information, Harlan County and its communities will have the potential to seek grant funding that may otherwise have been unavailable to them. The Center will also use this information to explore options to support future broadband expansion projects.
In fact, The Center is also involved in providing Technology Assistance Program (TAP) funds to the five counties that make up the Pine Mountain Industrial Development Authority (PMIDA) (Bell, Harlan, Knox, Letcher, and Whitley) to do a broadband feasibility study. The Center recognizes that high-speed quality broadband is a critical utility to economic development, education, business, and virtual healthcare. The Harlan broadband speed test coupled with the PMIDA feasibility study will provide the foundation for seeing internet access improve in the area.
The Center is eager to assist other communities as well. “We want to make certain that folks all throughout the entire region are aware that they can get service,” said Lonnie Lawson, President and CEO of The Center. “We want to make sure that we help you. We want to do everything we can to make you successful in your home communities,” Lawson added. For more information about The Center’s various broadband initiatives contact The Center’s Broadband Technology Liaison, Scott Surber by email or phone at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 606-677-6000.