NEW LEXINGTON — In what seems like deja vu, basic broadband is still one of the most discussed issues in the county as it remains scarce across the Perry County landscape. In an effort to continue the conversation, one local advocacy group is planning a town hall to address the issues.
According to the Perry County Think Tank on Poverty, basic broadband has been one of the primary concerns of the group. The scarcity of basic broadband in the southeastern county has affected individuals of all ages.
The lack of basic broadband limits individuals from students not being able to do homework or assignments from home, some medical equipment does not function properly, remote jobs are unsuccessful as well as some communities being unable to thrive economically and socially, according to the local Think Tank.
On Thursday, June 18, The Perry county Think Tank on Poverty is planning on hearing and addressing issues of broadband via a virtual town hall scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. The town hall will be both video and a call-in process eliminating person-to-person contact.
According to the Think Tank, individuals who have a phone are able to join the conversation regardless of internet connection. Additionally, this event will be lived streamed on Facebook via the group’s page.
The town hall will include guest speakers encompassing a wide array of professionals wanting to discuss the issues of broadband access in rural Ohio. The guest speakers include Jim Edwards from Nelsonville TV, Chief of Broadband Ohio Peter Voderburg, Misty Crosby from Buckeye Hills Regional Council, New Lexington Superintendent Casey Coffey, President of Reid Consulting Group Tom Reid and David Brown from the Southeast Ohio Broadband Cooperative.
According to the Think Tank, individuals interested in being a part of the conversation can visit broadband4ohio.org or like the Perry County Think Tank on Poverty’s Facebook page to sign up for the event.
Local community members can also call in on the day of the event by dialing +1-646-876-9923 or +1-301-715-8592 with the passcode 823-4600-9083.
According to the former Mayor of Crooksville Fred Redfern, the scarcity of basic broadband is one of the most important issues the county faces.
“We are lacking broadband speed in Perry County and it’s crippling the county in several different ways,” Redfern told The Perry County Tribune. “This town hall is to bring awareness to those people who may not understand that broadband is essential for different areas.”
Redfern added that one of the areas broadband is most needed is for educational services as well as economic development and other services. Some areas in the county, such as business establishments and local libraries, have readily available internet for locals to use. However, once the business is closed, internet access for locals also closes.
“The lack of broadband is killing us,” Redfern commented.
In the month of December last year, Tom Reid from Reid Consulting shared eye-opening information regarding the lack of broadband in what he characterized as the rural expanse. Specifically, from an eight county study, it was recorded that 75 percent of the collective did not have adequate broadband.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) classified basic broadband as 25 megabits per second (mbps) in download speed and 3mbps (25/3). Reid was quoted in a December issue of The Tribune stating “75 percent of the geography does not have 25/3 and that sounds bad… but it’s actually much worse than that.”