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Harrison County committee works to assess and improve broadband access

The Harrison County Broadband Committee is right now working to develop a county-specific Technology Action Plan.
 
The committee, which is partnering with Connected Nation Texas (CN Texas) to make this possible, is made up of local stakeholders who are focused on finding solutions for improving internet connectivity countywide. Collecting usage data and determining need is the first step in the action plan.
 
“Improving internet access and speeds is critical to supporting our local families, businesses, and community organizations,” said Harrison County Judge Chad Sims.  “As the challenges of the pandemic have impacted our communities, we have all become keenly aware of the need for improved and affordable broadband access for everyone. By working together and providing input, we can ensure that everyone across the county has the opportunity to thrive regardless of physical location. Harrison County needs to continue to be a place people love to live and work.”
 
 
Harrison County is the 12th community selected as part of a statewide effort led by CN Texas and funded by the Texas Rural Funders—at no cost to the county itself. As part of this effort, the committee is asking every individual, business, and community organization to take 10 minutes and fill out this short survey:
 
 
“It is very important to get as much input as possible across all business sectors and residents. This plan must be inclusive to truly reflect the needs of all communities across Harrison County,” said Rush Harris, Executive Director of the Marshall Economic Development Corporation.  “This isn’t just important for Marshall’s growth. It’s important for the growth and satisfaction of businesses and residents in Hallsville, Waskom, Scottsville, Karnack, Harleton, Elysian Fields, and other unincorporated areas of Harrison County.”  Harris continued, “If communities want better internet access, participation in survey is the first step. That data will help create an implementation plan to better serve our children, families, and businesses.
 
“The past year has really has emphasized the need for adequate broadband in Marshall and across our county. I’ve been able to experience it firsthand living a little further off the beaten path. When my family must be home, my children are trying to log in to school, while my wife and I try to connect to work. It can be a challenge. You add all the other devices that need internet connectivity to work in the home and the limitations and costs are evident. Many residents and businesses are likely facing similar needs. We need to know what those limitations, needs, and costs are across the county to plan for the future,” Harris said.
 
 
The Technology Action Plan, which will be developed by leveraging Connected Nation’s Connected Community Engagement Program, will be shaped by the information provided by local stakeholders. The Connected Program has been used in nearly 400 communities across the country to develop county or regional-specific Technology Action Plans that have both short term and long-term broadband solutions.
 
For more information or if you have questions, email info@connectednation.org or head to connectednation.org/texas.