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New push to bring broadband to rural areas

Bath Township created task force to create options
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT
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BATH TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WILX) - One of the lessons we’ve learned over the last year is just how crucial high-speed internet access is in modern society. That’s putting new emphasis on a push to expand it nationwide. Congress is debating plans, but there are also moves being made on the local level.

Bath Township created a broadband task force to look at internet costs and what would be the best way to bring more broadband access to people. Those who live out in the country told News 10 they want to be able to get online like everyone else.

“We’re limited with our availability to utilize Teams,” said Lucia Camarda.

Camarda bought her home in rural Bath Township two years ago, and she says internet access in those two years hasn’t been great.

“You have to make a choice. What are you going to use today? Are you going to be online working using Teams, Zoom or what’s available or are you going to be streaming video?” said Camarda.

Her neighbor, Anne Szilagyi, built her house in the 1970s.

“There was no such thing as internet, just a phone line,” said Szilagyi.

She was able to get rid of dial up only about 10 years ago, and has had several different methods since.

“We’re kind of in a black hole. I think a lot of people in the country are in that boat. And it’s really too bad,” said Szilagyi.

Mike Allen’s been trying to find better internet for years.

“One time I got a gal and she actually laughed when she tried to pull up my speed,” he said.

Allen’s internet even gave out during our zoom call Wednesday morning. He said that’s why he has to have a mobile hotspot so his kids can do school while he’s working from home.

“Some days even watching Netflix it buffers and it takes awhile to get gone. God forbid someone’s upstairs watching Netflix and someone down here is watching Netflix,” said Allen.

Camarda said she probably wouldn’t have moved to Bath Township if she knew it would be this hard to get reliable internet.

“As much as we love our neighbors and we love the area, we probably would’ve looked into other locations that offer a wider bandwidth and more options,” said Camarda.

The task force is still in the early stages, so it could be a while before it offers trustees any recommendations. The state budgeted $14 million to bring broadband to rural areas this year.

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