MILLER COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – A survey is underway in the greater Texarkana USA area aimed at helping to bring more affordable, reliable access to internet broadband to the region, and organizers say public input is critical to the process.
According to AR-TX REDI, broadband is defined by the FCC as always-on, high-speed internet access that is at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream to your device and 3 Mbps upstream from your device.
County leaders in northeast Texas and Southwest Arkansas are partnering AR-TX Regional Economic Development (AR-TX REDI) for a research initiative that will help the organization develop a regional broadband strategic plan.
“It’s just something that’s needed. The money is available. We need to take advantage of it and make sure that everyone in Miller County has access to internet,” said Miller County Judge Cathy Harrison.
Organizers of the initiative are urging everyone in Bowie and Miller County to participate.
“It’s so important for education, it’s so important for economic development, to have internet access that is affordable for the future,” said AR-TX REDI volunteer and State Bank CFO Brock McCorkle.
Questions on the Bowie and Miller Counties Broadband Survey include location and whether internet access is available, as well as whether participants consider it to be an essential service, much like water and electricity.
“Hopefully, when we get the results from this, we’ll see where we need to go. What avenues we need to be taken to reach those individuals that currently don’t have the service,” Harrison said.
Judge Harrison says Miller County gave $10,000 dollars toward this project. In addition, Judge Bobby Howell of Bowie County, Texas says they hope to give about $10,000 to $20,000 for the broadband research initiative.