Survey could bring internet access to rural areas of Knox County

The county plans on surveying all residents to locate areas with little-to-no internet.

GALESBURG, Ill. — Beginning April 1, Knox County will conduct a countywide broadband survey to determine areas in the county with little-to-no internet access.

“I think lots of people have realized all the problems that emerged over the years of COVID with inadequate broadband service. We have also realized that there are still substantial – particularly out in the rural areas – unserved or underserved areas of the county,” Vice Chair of Knox County Board David Amor said. 

The survey would document the quality of individual internet service by providing a list of questions and an internet speed test. The speed test would only be available through the online version of the survey. 

While the City of Galesburg may have a strong internet connection, rural areas have to find different ways to get connected. 

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“There’s a lot of the county, I know just from some of the people who are on our steering team who live in the rural parts of the area, they are very eager to get something going because right now all they’ve got is a cellular connection,” Amor said. 

The county hopes a strong broadband connection will help education, economic development, farming and telehealth. But in order for the survey to work, residents must participate. 

“If we get a good turnout, then, as part of the survey, we will be able to link particular addresses within the county to particular upload and download speeds or perhaps no internet service at all,” he said. “We can essentially provide a more detailed map of the county in terms of how that is all shaped out. And then that will help us in working with internet service providers.”

The county plans on using American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project.

Starting in April, survey can be taken online here. 

Paper versions of the survey will be available at public libraries throughout the county as well as at the following locations in Galesburg: 

  • Knox County Agri Center, 180 South Soangetaha Road, Suite 101.
  • Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, 200 East Main St., Suite 200.
  • Galesburg Community Foundation, 246 East Main St., Suite 101.

You can also request a paper version via email to knoxbroadbandsurvey@knoxcountyil.gov.

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