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Gov. Carney approves $20 Million to fill in broadband deserts

Delaware Department of Technology

Gov. John Carney announced funding to fill in broadband deserts in parts of rural Delaware today.


With many schools remaining online for the beginning of the school year, high speed internet access becomes even more important.


According to a report by Broadband Now, Delaware Ranks 14th in terms of access to internet, access to low-cost internet plans, and internet speeds. While almost 95% of the state has access to high speed broadband internet, a little over half of Delawareans have access to a low cost plan. 


Internet access remains an issue in rural parts of the First State.


Elyse Baergais the supervisor of student services at Woodbridge School District in Northwest Sussex County. She says her district found that nearly 30 percent of families had no internet or poor connectivity.


“We had teachers struggling to provide instruction from their homes and couldn't access it, students who we couldn’t reach. And we had to be really creative in a challenging situation that seemed almost insurmountable.”


Department of Technology spokesman James Collins explains why both cost and access are important.


“So there are two issues. One is access to broadband and the other is affordability. And so we’ve been addressing both and the announcement today will take us a long way in helping to address both of those. And as you’ve said it’s needed for distance learning, telework, telemedicine, small businesses.”


The $20 Million in CARES Act funding will go towards subsidies for low income families to purchase high speed internet and to provider networks expanding to low-access areas.


The department is focusing its attention on Kent and Sussex counties, where the First State sees the lowest access to broadband internet. 


Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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