The Knox County Development Corp. is forming a countywide Rural Broadband Task Force. The group will be responsible for evaluating current broadband coverage throughout the county and developing solutions for quicker buildout.
The organization says the group will be facilitated by Drew Garretson, who is chairman of the Pantheon Ag + Tech Committee, as well as Chris Pfaff, who is the chief executive officer of KCDC.
“The need for high-speed internet service, especially in rural areas, has been an ongoing challenge and the pandemic has only amplified this need,” said Garretson. “Every household and farm in Knox County deserve reliable and affordable broadband connections to ensure access for online learning, remote working, and telehealth opportunities.”
The KCDC says the task force is planning “to conduct a countywide assessment of broadband coverage, identify state and federal programs to assist, recommend policies and initiatives, and promote a ‘broadband ready’ community.”
“It is important to understand our efforts are intended to speed up the widespread coverage of broadband throughout the county, though universal connectivity is not likely for a number of years,”
said Pfaff. “I am encouraged by the attention and additional resources being applied by the state and
federal governments, and our task force will continue to leverage this for the betterment of Knox County.”
The organization says the task force will also work to identify broadband investment priority areas that could benefit from possible federal funding. The task force will work to accelerate the investments.