Committee working to explore high speed internet access options in Hanover

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - In this day and age of facebook and twitter, it's hard to imagine not having access to the internet, but that's a reality for lots of people living and working in rural areas of Hanover County.

Most of us can't get away from the internet; it's not only on our home and work computers but on our phones that are with us all the time.  The truth is though that even in 2010, there are places where high speed internet is not available.

In rural Hanover County, it's not unusual to just hear the wind blowing. That quiet lifestyle appeals to many but often means doing without. Without fancy restaurants, without a shopping mall and without high speed internet.

That last notion is prompting some to take action. South Anna district supervisor John Gordon is heading up what's right now a temporary committee to address the lack of reliable high speed internet access in the most rural areas.

"As we attempt to attract new businesses to our area, that's one of the questions they are going to ask, will our folks, will our employees have access to high speed internet, so I think it is just critical," said John Gordon.

The lack of a high speed internet connection is about much more than just having access to the latest news and information. It could keep you from searching for a job or several common luxuries like banking online or tele-commuting. It could also affect your children.

"The child in school who receives and assignment and one has high speed internet access and the other does not; the child that has access has an advantage over the other," Gordon said.

Once the internet committee figures out which areas need the most help, they'll look for grants and other funding. They'll also look into public/private partnerships and explore using the county's new $30 million 911 tower system to further internet coverage.

"That's one place that we must look to see if we can talk advantage of the towers that we've already erected to ensure that everybody in Hanover has that access," said Gordon.

The internet committee is also seeking guidance from other localities. Both Woodland and Caroline counties are working on similar projects.

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