Broadband customers asked if they feel connected

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT
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PEORIA (25News Now) - Peoria County sent a survey in the mail Wednesday, asking people to share their internet experiences, so the county can decide where to best spend state funds.

According to the Illinois Broadband Map, some rural areas are underserved in wireline service, which requires infrastructure.

Kathie Brown of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council said an anticipated $1 billion state grant could be used to update the infrastructure in the rural parts of Peoria County.

Brown added the primary goal is to pinpoint where service is needed most.

“Other federal agencies have gotten onboard because they see the importance of broadband for stimulating our economy, and it’s such a critical part of health, education, and how we do business today,” said Kathie Brown.

Affordable Connectivity is a federal program by the FCC that helps families who can’t afford internet get a plan for a reduced price.

Comcast or Xfinity, serves the majority of the city of Peoria. The company believes this is important, but the spokesperson said creating infrastructure in less populated areas isn’t financially feasible for many companies because of the cost.

“So, communities that don’t have it or don’t have access to really high-level service have fewer opportunities to have businesses that grow and thrive,” said Regional Vice President of Communication Jack Segal.

Segal said internet service providers are now able to apply for federal grants to help rural areas.

Brown added American Rescue Act funds paid for this survey.