Summit Hopes To Bring Broadband To Appalachia

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In the hopes of bringing awareness of the need for broadband access in Appalachia, activists and government leaders alike are meeting in Marietta tomorrow.

Members of technology organizations, local governments and a representative from the federal government will meet at the Appalachian Ohio-West Virginia Connectivity Summit and Town Hall.

A keynote speaker at the event will be Chris Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Mitchell said the summit is important so that people across the country can know what an important element broadband access plays in the growth of communities.

“You can really make a region totally undesirable for people to move into or remain in if they do not have access to modern technology,” Mitchell told WOUB.

A youth contingent will also be present, headed by Herron Linscott. Linscott will be handing out red ribbons made of bandanas, to spark awareness of the need to for technology upgrades in rural Ohio and West Virginia.

Linscott said despite the idea that the younger generation only wants internet access for recreation, it’s necessary for her and her fellow students to stay at the same level as other students.

“Our teachers post a lot of information, at least at my school, to Google Classroom, and they’ll have study guides and flash cards and video links, and everything that we could need to help us with our homework or the lesson is all online,” Linscott said.

The summit, to be held at Washington State Community College from 8:30 to 4 p.m., will include sessions on the basics of broadband access, state and federal broadband policy, technology solutions for Appalachia and a session on organizing for community broadband.

A panel on community ownership models will be held before a hearing, which will allow the Federal Communications Commission head, Mignon Clyburn, to hear from those attending the summit.

Those that can’t make it to the summit will still be able to have their voices heard by Clyburn at a town hall from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Marietta High School Auditorium.

Presenters include Mark DeFalco of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and county commissioners and regional broadband board members.

To attend the event or find more information, register here.

Find a guide to basic terms related to broadband internet here.