YORKVILLE – What locations offer the fastest internet service in Kendall County?
What areas provide internet users with the slowest broadband service?
Kendall County officials want to know, especially where the broadband service is poor.
The county government is conducting research into broadband speeds throughout all areas of the county and is enlisting some of the most internet-savvy people available to help: high school students.
“We are asking high school students to help get people to answer a short questionnaire and in return we will be giving out prizes to the top four students with the most sign-ups in each school district,” County Administrator Scott Koeppel said.
The county is undertaking the survey to identify areas where internet service is in need of improvement, to bolster its case when applying for federal grant money to improve broadband infrastructure, Koeppel said.
High school students from the Oswego, Yorkville, Plano, Sandwich, Newark, Minooka and Plainfield school districts are eligible to participate.
Students do not need to live in Kendall County, but to help administer the survey they will need to create an account to receive a champion code.
Once a student has received the code, it may be shared with friends, family, neighbors, and local business owners who live in Kendall County.
Students may go to the county’s website where they will find a link to the internet survey starting the week of April 12.
Prizes will be awarded to the top four students in each school district who get the most questionnaire responses, Koeppel said.
First prize is a ticket to the Raging Waves Water Park in Yorkville with $10 in concessions. Second prize is two VIP passes to NCG Cinema in Yorkville.
Third prize is 2.5 hours at Altitude Trampoline Park in Oswego and fourth prize is a $20 gift certificate to the Arts on Fire Paint Your Own Pottery studio in Plano.
The county board on April 5 approved spending $1,000 in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to cover the cost of the prizes.
Winners are expected to be announced on May 6.
“It’s a real issue that we have,” Kendall County Board Chairman Scott Gryder said. “We’re the fastest growing county in Illinois. We should have the best internet service in the state.”
Koeppel said that service providers often lack the incentive to improve their networks in rural areas because of a lower return on their investment.
“We would work with a provider to incentivize them to serve the underserved,” Koeppel said.
“Everybody knows someone with bad internet,” Koeppel said, noting that the problem became more noticeable when people became more reliant on their computers during the pandemic.