Improving broadband access to rural communities with Champaign County Farm Bureau

ciLiving.TV

Champaign County, Ill. (WCIA)

The Champaign County Farm Bureau remains committed to improving broadband access and affordability in Champaign County. Our efforts started in the Fall of 2020 with a survey sent in partnership with Illinois Farm
Bureau (IFB) that asked our membership about their current home internet status and what you anticipated as your future needs. The data collected by that survey has been invaluable and has jump-started our efforts to find real solutions for this challenging problem

Since last Fall we as an organization have taken a number of steps towards improved broadband. We started by meeting with several providers to evaluate their current efforts and to discuss potential ways that fast, reliable broadband could be brought to the rural areas of the county. We have also been working with local internet start-up companies and other non-traditional broadband providers to find novel ideas and technology that might help bridge the connectivity gap.

Most recently, the CCFB has been diligently lobbying the Champaign County Board to encourage them to dedicate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for rural broadband issues. We are asking the county to set aside $15 million of these one-time funds to incentivize the growth of broadband infrastructure in rural areas of the county. The county is in the process of hiring a consultant with expertise in broadband infrastructure and is forming a task force to tackle this issue. The CCFB does have a seat on this task force to ensure that the needs of rural citizens of Champaign County are being addressed.

Broadband access in rural areas is not an easy thing to solve. We will not be able to provide fast, reliable, and affordable broadband to everyone in the county tomorrow, but we do believe that progress is being and will continue to be made in this important area.

Champaign County Farm Bureau
801 N Country Fair Dr
Champaign IL 61821

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