Virtual townhall meeting Wednesday regarding broadband internet service

LAPEER — As Lapeer County moves toward a solution to the internet connectivity problems that plague residents, they’re asking for assistance in identifying those areas where there isn’t reliable or sufficient internet service.

On Wednesday, Aug. 24, at 5:30 p.m., there will be a virtual townhall meeting to get residents involved in the conversation, with the goal of pinpointing exactly where people are struggling to get good internet access. Merit Network and the team of engineers working on the county’s broadband feasibility study and plan will be on hand to discuss the project and lead participants to take a brief survey about their current access. The information will be a key element to moving toward countywide broadband services.

“The more people who participate, the more opportunity to express where they are and what they need at their house,” said Administrator/Controller Quentin Bishop, who has taken the lead on preparing Lapeer County for broadband. “This is their shot. We get it on record.”

The link for the town hall will be on the county website at lapeercountyweb.org.

For a few months now, Bishop has been deeply researching broadband and working with the county Board of Commissioners to make sure Lapeer is ready to receive funding when it becomes available. The board recently agreed to spend some American Rescue Plan dollars to hire Merit to conduct a feasibility and pre-engineering study to map out, perparcel, where there is connectivity in Lapeer County, and which areas are lacking. This townhall meeting and survey are an important part of that mapping process.

Bishop has been keeping his eye on the federal, state, nonprofit, and private investments that are going toward broadband, and preparing the county to fight for funding when the time comes, including collaborating with legislators in Washington, DC.

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