For the last twelve years, getting internet access had been more like a game of chance for Sherry Lindley and her family, living just outside Jonesboro city limits.
“I have tried some hotspots and things like that. They weren’t cost effective nor reliable,” says Lindley.
An all too common problem for Arkansans living in rural areas.
“Someone sends me something…they need it sent right back to them, oh check this email, or different things like that, I just didn’t have that option,” she adds.
The Federal Communications Commission has since stepped up to bat, authorizing more than twenty-two million dollars in funding to expand rural broadband services.
The FCC funding is not only designed to improve quality of life, but also boost economic development in arkansas rural communities. In the next ten years, it’ll extend broadband services to over sixty-five hundred homes and businesses in six counties.
It comes as a big break for empower, the company that oversees Craighead electric’s internet services.
“Our goal is to construct thirty-five hundred miles of line in the next two and a half to three years, and to ultimately be able to offer service to nearly thirty thousand Craighead Electric members,” explains Jeremiah Sloan who is the manager for Empower.
“Our network is designed to support speeds up to ten gigabytes per second.”
Empower made those services available for sherry’s family a mere two weeks ago. Helping to bring the world to her fingertips.
“I can bring my laptop home from work and be able to do some things that before, I was like…I’ve got to run it up to the store, to the office. And connect to the internet there,” adds Lindley, “it’s very, very convenient.”
An expensive investment where all benefits outweigh the costs.