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Knox County residents asked to complete broadband internet survey

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Jane Carlson
/
Tri States Public Radio

The results of the survey will be used to secure federal and state funds to improve broadband access.

Knox County leaders are asking all citizens to complete a survey this month to determine where reliable, high-speed broadband internet service is lacking across the county.

David Amor, vice chair of the Knox County board and a member of the county’s broadband steering team, said the results of the survey will be used to secure federal and state funds to improve broadband access.

“This really grows out of our experience with COVID,” Amor said.

The pandemic made it clear how important it was for residents to have adequate internet connections for remote learning and remote work, as well as for telehealth, Amor said.

In addition, the agriculture community is increasingly in need of reliable internet service due to the growth of precision agriculture.

Amor said Knox County is participating in the Accelerate Illinois Broadband Infrastructure Planning Program from the Illinois Office of Broadband.

The county’s broadband steering team includes township and county officials, agriculture and economic development leaders, educators, and local internet providers.

They’re working together to ensure Knox County has the broadband capacity needed to grow the economy and meet the educational, healthcare, and other online needs of its citizens.

Amor said while most of the county’s cities and villages already have the infrastructure to meet federal benchmarks for upload and download speeds, service can get spotty further out in the county.

Areas such as the western part of the county, near Rio, and south of Abingdon to St. Augustine are already known to be underserved.

“The other thing is that a lot of areas that look as if they’re adequately served, but in fact we know from anecdotal evidence, that there’s a lot of unreliability,” Amor said. “So we really want to map as much of the county as possible.”

The survey can be taken throughout the month of April.

Ideally, residents with internet access will take it online on a home computer because it includes a speed test to document the actual quality of service.

The survey is online here.

Paper versions may also be requested via email at knoxbroadbandsurvey@knoxcountyil.gov.

The survey is also available at public libraries throughout the county and at the following locations in Galesburg:

  • Knox County Agri Center, 180 S. Soangetaha Road.
  • Knox County Area Partnership for Economic Development, 200 E. Main St., Suite 200.
  • Galesburg Community Foundation, 246 E Main St., Suite 101.

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