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Committee discusses rural broadband study

Jake Old • Updated Jun 23, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Members of the Wilson County Broadband and Technology Committee discussed a national rural broadband study during a meeting Wednesday evening. 

The study surveyed young people, 22 years old or younger, in rural communities about various aspects of broadband internet access. 

Of those who participated in the study, 68 percent were women and girls. About 46 percent of respondents said they used the internet for one to three hours per day, and 31 percent said they use the internet for three to five hours per day. 

Wilson County Commissioner Dan Walker said the committee would consider many aspects of the study as it works to improve broadband access countywide. 

The study showed an increasing number of young people exclusively use cellphones, with a dwindling number who use voice-over IP phone services. 

Walker said the younger generation tends to use wireless and mobile internet services, and Wilson County should be forward facing with decisions. 

“We need to look at potential cell tower sites,” Walker said. “We want to be very proactive about this.” 

Committee members decided they should get data from the school system to determine what needs the schools see in broadband internet access for students. 

The committee also heard from a resident on Stewarts Ferry Pike, near Central Pike, who said he did not have access to cable or wired internet. He also said as many as 30 nearby residents were in the same situation. 

Committee members agreed to contact service providers and invite them to next month’s meeting, as well as all of the residents who are underserved in that area, to determine whether a solution is possible.

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