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Clinton County surveying high-speed internet needs

Clinton County surveying high-speed internet needs
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 5:20 PM EST
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ST. JOHNS, Mich. (WILX) - Finding reliable, high-speed internet is still hard for thousands of people across Mid-Michigan. The new Office of Rural Development is working to get more people online, and Clinton County is already looking for solutions.

“It’s frustrating,” said Bruce Levey. “I can see a tower from my house but the internet is still terrible,”

Levey is one of many people in Clinton County struggling to find high-speed internet that’s affordable and reliable.

“Those of us who live out here like living out here,” Levey said. “But we would like to have reliable internet.”

It’s so bad, he had to go to the Duplain Township Hall in Elsie to do the interview with News 10 and he still struggled to get a good connection for the video call to work.

Related: Michigan’s new Office of Rural Development created to boost opportunities for rural communities

“If you want to watch a video or something on the internet, you’re going to see that [rendering] circle quite often,” said Levey.

Levey is surprised there aren’t many internet options for people in rural areas, especially since more people are working and learning from home.

“We see these commercials where they talk about ‘If you’re way in the middle of nowhere, we can get you this wonderful internet,’ but apparently Duplain Township is not way out in the middle of nowhere and they just don’t care,” said Levey.

Clinton County commissioners have known this is a problem for years, and are using federal covid relief money to survey just how bad the problem is.

“We look at this as an economic development issue,” said Kam Washburn, Clinton County Commissioner. “We have people come to our board meetings saying ‘I need more internet access. I can’t do my farming business out here because I don’t have good internet.’ We’ve had mothers there. ‘We have for children. One of them can be online. The other three just have to sit.’ That is not acceptable!”

Washburn wants to see everyone in Clinton County to be able to have access to a fiber line, the fastest and most reliable option.

“The use of digital whatever it is, primarily over the internet, is at a certain capacity today, tomorrow it’s more. the next day its more. The capacity need is not going down. It is going up,” said Washburn.

People living in Clinton County can fill out a survey online here.

They will also get a call about the survey starting next week.

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