Red dots represent unserved and underserved areas. Image by Flat Wireless
Update: This article has been updated with a new link to the survey, which can be found here.
Portage County leaders are asking residents to fill out a survey about their home internet connection, hoping to learn — down to each household — who needs better broadband access.
The survey is part of a push led by the Portage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (EMA) to invest in high-speed internet infrastructure. The Portager detailed this effort in a February article.
Several areas, including Hiram, Paris and parts of Freedom, are internet dead zones. For a few thousand unlucky residents, internet service providers refuse to extend broadband lines to their homes, and many of them must rely on using cell phone hotspots to get online.
County commissioners and the EMA announced the new surveys this week. Anyone can access the survey on the Portage County website or by visiting local libraries and participating municipal and township buildings.
The survey should be submitted by July 27 to [email protected] or mailed to the Portage County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 8240 Infirmary Road, Ravenna, Ohio 44266. Residents can also visit the EMA office to request a paper survey.
The county previously conducted a study to identify underserved or unserved areas. But in conversations with residents, they discovered the publicly available maps from the FCC and others are inconsistent with the reality in Portage County’s rural homes.
“We thank you for taking the time to complete the following survey,” county commissioners said in a note to residents. “Results assist Portage County with making decisions to enhance broadband capability.”
Residents can contact the EMA for more information at 330-297-3607.