Survey will help identify internet service gaps | Local News

HICKORY — To help determine local internet service gaps, the Catawba County Broadband Task Force is asking all county residents and businesses to participate in the North Carolina Broadband Survey from the NC Division of Broadband and Digital Equity.

The North Carolina Broadband Survey is a five-minute survey that asks about internet availability and quality based on a person’s or business’s street address. Residents and businesses with internet service can complete the survey online at www.NCBroadband.gov/Survey. Residents and businesses without internet service may text “internet” to 919-750-0553 to complete the survey.

County-level data from the survey will be used by the Catawba County Broadband Task Force to help determine where and why internet access issues exist in Catawba County.

“The Broadband Task Force is well aware that many residents and businesses have internet access issues, but the extent of the problem is unknown,” said Chris Reese, K-64 Executive Director and task force member. “The two primary barriers are affordability and availability, but internet quality, such as connection speeds, also varies across the county.

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“The goal of the Broadband Task Force is to help determine the scope of the problem in Catawba County so we can effectively and collectively advocate for increased local broadband access,” Reese added. “That’s why it’s so important for every county resident and business to help by completing the survey.”

The North Carolina Broadband Survey is an existing survey that is used by the state and local counties to help identify internet access and quality needs.

Additionally, the Broadband Task Force is working to ensure residents know about the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which helps pay for the cost of internet service for qualifying households. Applications are available at www.fcc.gov/acp.

The Catawba County Broadband Task Force was convened by K-64 in 2021 to help align the efforts of various organizations involved in advocating for broadband access solutions. The Task Force is comprised of representatives from K-64, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation, Catawba County, Catawba County Schools, Catawba Valley Community College, City of Conover, City of Hickory, City of Maiden, City of Newton, Hickory Public Schools, Newton-Conover City Schools, The Chamber of Catawba County, and Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

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