Representatives from Connect-Arkansas and The Delta Regional Authority were in Helena-West Helena Tuesday to make a special presentation concerning broadband services in Phillips County. The session was held at the Chamber of Commerce office.

 

Representatives from Connect-Arkansas and The Delta Regional Authority were in Helena-West Helena Tuesday to make a special presentation concerning broadband services in Phillips County. The session was held at the Chamber of Commerce office.
Connect-Arkansas is a non-profit organization created by Act 604 of the 2007 Arkansas Legislature to promote sustainable high-speed Internet deployment and education throughout the state. Part of the organization’s mission is the e-Communities initiative, a grassroots, county-by-county project to influence increased access, awareness and use of the Internet. It also is attempting to guarantee Arkansans a level playing field in the world’s competitive environment, regardless of where they live.
Delta Regional Authority co-chairman Chris Massengill called Connect-Arkansas, “An important effort.”
“In order to be able to insure that the Delta region has a stronger economy, we must make sure the area has access to this type of technology,” he added.
During the presentation, Connect-Arkansas representatives reviewed a survey regarding broadband access in Phillips County. The survey revealed the Phillips County:
•Needs more people adopting broadband.  Twenty-five percent of the people survey said they did not need broadband services. Twenty-nine percent said they could not afford to subscribe but 68 percent of that 29 percent said they would subscribe if they had an affordable option
•Needs more mobile speed and increased coverage for all providers in the county
•Needs more understanding of what it takes to deploy broadband services.
•Students in kindergarten through college need reliable broadband access off campuses. There is a need for a broadband access center available on weekends and evenings for these students.
•The public needs to know about coming developments in health care education.
•There is a great concern about population loss in Phillips County. Many see the Internet as critical in recruiting and keeping businesses. Those surveyed expressed a concern that a lack of broadband accessibility may be a major problem in recruiting business, industry, doctors, teachers and other professionals to the county.
In summary, the survey reveals accessible and reliable broadband is a key to enhancing the needs identified in Phillips County.