HEBER SPRINGS — Cleburne County Judge Jerry Holmes’ office is asking for assistance from county households in mapping needs for broadband internet service.

Holmes announced at the August Quorum Court meeting that his office, through the Administrative Assistant Rebekah Knew, was applying for a broadband grant to cover an area of the county between Pangburn and Hopewell. He announced at the September meeting that the grant application was accepted and awarded by the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

Knew said she is working on additional grants for the county. A grant application includes not just a need, she said, but an Internet Service Provider (ISP) willing to undertake the work required to provide broadband service to a given area which is otherwise under-served.

To help the county in mapping need, Knew asked that people take the internet speed test and survey at broadband.arkansas.gov. The test and survey need to be done from a home internet connection “... and preferable from any devices besides a cell phone,” she stated.

Broadband access in the state has been an ongoing effort of Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson. The need for broadband has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, notably for school students and employees forced to work from home due to conventional access restrictions.

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