(TNS) – Somerset County officials know there are pockets in Somerset County where reliable cellular and internet service is lacking.
But identifying these areas is not an easy task, the commissioners said.
The Somerset County Planning Commission is working to change that with a survey urging residents to give their opinion on the reliability of their home’s internet.
“We know that if you look at a mobile operator‘s coverage maps, there are places that the map shows is covered – but that’s really not the case, and unfortunately there are people who live in these areas,” said Chad Sines, a planner for the county commission. “It’s the same with broadband.”
The brief one-page survey asks residents about internet speeds in their homes and rates their internet and cellular service.
The results will allow the county to tailor its part of a regional broadband broadband improvement effort to areas that need it most, Somerset County Commissioner Colleen Dawson said earlier this week.
Using the county’s new GIS mapping system, the county will be able to create its own digital “coverage” map to identify “dead zones,” she said.
The information will also help the county in its application process to secure the necessary funding for the project — a six-county effort estimated at tens of millions of dollars, said chairman-commissioner Gerald Walker.
“There are multiple sources of income; we need to know where to spend the money responsibly to create affordable broadband projects for the public,” Dawson said.
The brief investigation can be found on the County of Somerset webpage and by visiting the following link https://arcg.is/1KL0fP, county officials said.
Sines said no name identification was needed and he encouraged internet-savvy residents to help relatives who don’t have online access complete the survey.
Those who wish to participate but cannot access the online survey can call 814-445-1544 for assistance.
The planning commission plans to collect survey results over several months and may expand its reach in areas where responses are low, Sines said.
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