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Survey available on bringing high-speed broadband to rural areas 

 
Belleville News-Democrat
February 20, 2012

Rural residents are being asked to complete a survey about high-speed Internet usage in an effort to develop broadband plans in the state.

The survey is open to the general public and can be accessed on the Broadband Illinois website. To participate in the survey, visit www.broadbandillinois.org, click the "Research" tab, and then click the "High Speed Internet Usage Study" link.

"Rural Illinoisans need affordable, high-speed Internet access to land new employers, expand educational opportunities and improve health care," said Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon. "I encourage my neighbors in Southern Illinois to participate in this research project to ensure that we are part of the state's broadband strategy and can compete in the 21st century economy."

Nearly one-fifth of the land area in Illinois lacks any broadband access, and eight of the 10 counties with the least access to broadband in the state are in Southern Illinois. Many suffer from slow speeds.

The 20-minute survey includes questions about preferred Internet devices, frequent web activities, such as research, work force training and buying or selling of goods and the importance of broadband retention and expansion. The survey is conducted by the nonprofit organization, Partnership for a Connected Illinois. The organization was enlisted by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity as part of the High-Speed Internet Services and Information Technology Ac t of 2007 to guide local, state and federal policymakers to develop broadband plans in several categories including: Agriculture, energy and the environment, economic development, education, health care, public safety and government performance.

"A major goal of this survey is to ensure that residents of rural Illinois will have access to better broadband," said Drew Clark, executive director of Partnership for a Connected Illinois. "By developing a statewide strategy for better broadband, we're creating a future that includes enhanced economic opportunities, increased availability of educational tools, and higher-quality health care for Illinois residents."

Contact broadbandoffice@broadbandillinois.org or visit http://broadbandillinois.org/research.html to learn more.