Pendleton County asking for community feedback on broadband internet

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 6:31 PM EDT
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PENDLETON COUNTY, W.Va. (WHSV) - Broadband internet has been an ongoing issue in Pendleton County and the county is taking steps to resolve the issue beginning with a broadband survey.

Working with the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, the Pendleton County Economic Community and Development Authority (EDA) has put out a survey for residents asking what their download speeds are like.

State leaders in West Virginia are looking at ways to increase broadband internet to underserved areas with funding through the American Rescue Plan Act, but need information on areas that need help and need to avoid duplication of previously funded projects.

The data will later be used to show the availability of high-speed internet in the county to providers.

“So we ask the questions to gather their data so we can improve internet in Pendleton County,” Laura Brown with Pendleton County EDA said.

Working with the Pendleton County Commission and Pendleton County Schools on forming a plan, the county hopes it can help address issues residents faced last year when everything moved virtually like school.

“Yes, there were definitely different levels of access for families,” J.P. Mowery, with Pendleton County Schools, said. “We did try to give mobile hot spots that would work with cell service but cell service is also very limited here.”

Brown says if the issues are eventually fixed, this can help those who are preferring to work at home, have telehealth appointments, or make it easier to check in on loved ones in living facilities.

“For example, Pendleton Manor closed down during COVID last year so broadband gave away for residents to connect with their families,” Brown said. “So lucky for them it’s in town but some of the other families may not have them though.”

The survey can be taken through the end of August, and if you don’t have internet you can always find a physical copy of the survey at the Pendleton County Public Library.

At the same time, the county is looking for experienced internet service providers to enter a public-private partnership to develop high-speed internet in the county.

Those interested in working with the county must submit an RFI by July 28.

“For us when we find a provider that’s going to work in our area, we’ll be able to tell them these are the areas that are really underserved these are the ones we need to focus on,” Brown said.

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