Meeting in Fayette County discusses better access to broadband internet

HICO, WV (WVNS) – Fayette County locals hold a digital equity meeting at Midland Trail High School.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss broadband planning and infrastructure.

This is a pressing problem in Fayette County, where a large portion of the population doesn’t even have access to an internet device.

Annie Stroud is the Broadband Program Director for Generation West Virginia. She said the number of people without regular access to the Internet was a shocking statistic.

“I think a lot of people don’t realize how many people in our community don’t have resources like the internet. Across Fayette County, nearly 20 percent of households reported not having any devices at all, no phones, no computers, no tablets Computers,” Stroud said.

To address this issue, West Virginia Generation is working to meet the needs of different target groups.

This includes seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and more.

Jeff Proctor was one of the locals in attendance. He said the need even extends to his own residence.

“I live on a street that doesn’t have internet. There’s probably 30 to 40 percent of the county that doesn’t have internet or is considered unserved,” Proctor said.

Thankfully, groups like Generation West Virginia are working to change that.

Workshops are planned for summer 2024, with final plans expected to be completed in August.

As our world enters the Internet age, connecting more people to the Internet will become a necessity, officials say.

“Since so much of our daily transactions, banking, submitting forms, school communications, etc. are all online. All of those things are moving to online platforms, and that’s really going to put some of these people out of reach,” Stroud said.

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