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Roanoke County building its most detailed map of broadband coverage ever, needs your help

(WDBJ)
Published: Jan. 2, 2020 at 10:27 PM EST
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Bill Hunter spends a lot of time thinking about the internet. Specifically, other people's internet.

As Roanoke County's IT Director, Hunter is one of a handful of county officials trying to make sure every home and every business in Roanoke County gets a broadband hookup.

"We want to determine where it really is, and where it really isn't," he said.

The latest step in answering that question is

targeted toward every man, woman and child in the county.

Just five questions, the survey asks where you live, whether you have high speed internet access, and if not, whether you want it. In addition to the online version, which can be taken at home or a county library, officials are mailing the survey to certain areas, and sending copies home with Roanoke County students over the next month.

"I betcha there's one piece of paper that a school kid who doesn't have internet is gonna make sure mom and dad get a hold of," said Hunter.

The survey will help build an unmatched picture of broadband in Roanoke County, replacing the outdated models officials are working with now. With the new map that emerges, Hunter and others will be able to say for certain where they should target future efforts to expand broadband, compiling detailed reports designed to lure in state dollars.

"The state of Virginia has made some very nice grant opportunities available, but to get the grants you have to do your homework," he said.

After the survey ends on February 28, Hunter and his team will spend the next several months putting the data together. They expect to submit their report to the state by this summer.

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