Many residents and businesses in rural areas of the state do not have access to Broadband, which is not only essential for commerce, but critical for information sharing, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
While the federal and state governments have resources to help rural areas of the state invest in broadband infrastructure, many people and businesses remain without high-speed broadband access.
Households Without Broadband Access
The Federal Communications Commission provides an interactive map of all U.S. counties showing the speed and number of residential broadband providers. You can view the map here: https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/#/
Also, you can access more information about broadband access in Arkansas counties in the 2019 Rural Profile of Arkansas https://uaex.edu/ruralprofile/
Discounted or Free Internet Services
The National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) provides up-to-date information on Internet Service Providers that provide discounted or free (for a limited time) internet services. Access this site and determine if residents in your area may qualify for discounted or free service https://www.digitalinclusion.org/
The American Connection Project (ACP) provides information on free Wi-Fi resources through their interactive map. https://www.americanconnection.io/
Federal and State Broadband Resources
To obtain information on federal resources available go to:
- Federal Communications Commission: https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-and-internet-guides
- The Networking and Information Technology Research and Development Program: https://www.nitrd.gov/apps/broadband/
- USDA Broadband Program: https://www.usda.gov/broadband
- To obtain information on the Arkansas state Broadband Plan providing assistance to rural communities wanting to develop their broadband infrastructure, go to: https://governor.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/Arkansas_State_Broadband_Plan_Final_5.15_.19_.pdf
Why Is Being Online Important?
The four part video series, “If You’re Not on the Internet, You Don’t Exist: Developing Broadband Infrastructure for Your Area,” was originally recorded at the 2017 Breakthrough Solutions Conference in Little Rock.
Listen to industry experts discuss strategies for bringing broadband to local communities and state and federal funding options.