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New Rural Broadband Task Force starts work Tuesday

Henderson County's newly formed Rural Broadband Task Force will hold its first meeting Tuesday night at the Historic Courthouse as it begins work to promote broadband availability in underserved areas of the county.

During its Feb. 7 meeting, County Commission Chair Bill Lapsley suggested the need for the committee, which could identify providers that are willing to expand where service is spotty or non-existent and potentially endorse their efforts to obtain state grants to fund the work. When county officials contacted, they indicated they were open to participating, he said.

“I think we’ve assembled  group of people that have expertise and experience and interest in this topic," he said.

Lapsley envisions the task force role as identifying where broad expansion is needed and how much it would cost and recommending which providers deserve the endorsement of the Board of Commissioners in state grant applications.

Commissioners Daniel Andreotta and David Hill are spearheading the effort for the county. In addition to cable and internet service providers, task force members or participants will include representatives from emergency services, law enforcement, public schools and other areas. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the community room on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse.

"There will be opportunity for public comment at the beginning and we look forward to finding solutions to the need for quality broadband service in a rural county areas," Andreotta said.