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Participating in state survey could help secure broadband access for rural areas

Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) is in the process of evaluating broadband Internet availability and usage throughout the state. Concerns have been raised across the state that there is a lack of broadband access in rural parts of Tennessee. High-speed Internet has become imperative for employment, business, education and health.
As a result of these concerns, TNECD implemented an impartial 20-minute online broadband survey that includes access, adoption and usage in both businesses and homes in rural, urban and suburban communities across Tennessee. The survey assesses the needs of the community through a series of questions. “We need all the participation we can get,” said Mayor Larry Potter. “We need better internet for the future, for economic development, job recruitment and the ability to work from home. If we don’t respond, it will appear as if we are not interested. If broadband Internet is in place, this could lead to more job opportunities for Johnson County.”
Some of the questions on the survey gather basic generic information such as your zip code, your county, whether you live in town or in the county, your city or town and address. It inquires as to the ages of those who live in your home, how much do you know about computers and the Internet and how often you use Internet service in a typical month. The survey is thorough, and each of the questions offers the opportunity to choose from various answers that apply to you and your family.
The survey asks what type of Internet you have access to, such as broadband, high-speed or satellite. There is a question with regard to how many service providers offer high speed in your area. It will ask you to rate your priority in choosing high-speed service, including performance characteristics such as affordability, speed and reliability. The survey contains questions such as how long you have been using broadband, if you do, and your monthly Internet costs. It also inquires as to why you use the Internet, whether for work, social networking, sharing information, among other choices. This is just a sampling of questions presented on the survey. There is also a test to determine the current download and upload speed of your current Internet service and there is a location designated to input that information. The results are complied and recommendations to the Tennessee state legislature will be made based on the results of these findings.
The survey can be found at www.tn.gov/broadband thru March 15, 2016.