New App Pushes for Change with Rural Broadband Access
A press release was submitted on February 26, 2019 from the National Association of Counties (NACo), the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), and Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Rural LISC) announcing the launch of their new app, TestIT.
This app gives mobile phone users the power to accurately identify areas with low or no internet connectivity and share that information to push for change. The hopes of NACo, RCAP, and Rural LISC is that they would be equipped with data submitted through this app to advocate for funding of broadband infrastructure across the country.
“As the world grows increasingly networked, having access to the internet, in particular broadband speeds, is becoming crucial to perform normal functions. Many businesses only accept job applications online, just to name one thing, so no internet, no job. Then you consider the number of necessary services that are primarily or entirely online and it’s not just a convenience anymore. It has swiftly become a necessity, like having electricity,” shared Jason Pyles, GIS Coordinator for Buckeye Hills.
Residents in rural Appalachian Ohio are fully aware of the hurdles a lack of broadband access creates for the life of communities across the region. From healthcare to economic development to support services for residents, the lack of broadband has a tremendous impact on the region.
Lenny Eliason, Athens County Commissioner, not only understands how vital broadband is for present-day life, but also for the future of our residents.
“It is important to keep our children competitive in the world by having adequate broadband service. Using this app will help NACo lobby for funding to ensure that rural broadband service is available to all our citizens,” shared Eliason.
The development and launch of this new app fits directly in alignment with local, state, regional, and national goals for rural development. Regionally speaking, a key priority for Buckeye Hills Regional Council is to establish resources for residential and commercial telecommunication expansion services. Southeast Ohio is at a tremendous technological disadvantage when it comes to communications, including terrestrial broadband service, 5G mobile service, and other comparable technologies.
Communities in the Buckeye Hills eight-county region have continually suffered from a lack of broadband service availability compared to other areas of our state and our nation. Southeastern Ohio is primed for significant economic development activity; access to broadband is key to capitalizing on the abundance of opportunities available to increase the quality of life in our region, and using the TestIT app would provide the data necessary to equip our national partners to advocate for increased funding of broadband infrastructure across the U.S.
“There are opportunities everyday that might be slipping by due to not only a lack of broadband, but lack of choice in broadband, “ shared Pyles.