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Bedford County's supervisors have directed county staff to present proposals for expanding broadband Internet access in the county.
During a work session last week, County Administrator Kathleen Guzi told the supervisors that the county needs to have broadband access in more areas in order to promote economic development. It could also increase government efficiency because more work would be able to be done electronically, reducing the need for printing, she noted. Furthermore, she said that students who are not exposed to new technology are at a risk of being disadvantaged when they go to college.
Guzi suggested that county staff come up with options for public-private partnerships that would extend broadband to more areas. The options would be presented to the supervisors.
“There is no question there is the need,” commented Board Chairman Steve Arrington.
Others echoed his sentiment. District 2 Supervisor Chuck Neudorfer said that he knows of one insurance office that moved out of his district to Franklin County in order to get broadband.
District 3 Supervisor Roger Cheek said that he is getting calls from a business owner in his district who may also leave the county due to the lack of this service. He added that young farmers who want to take online courses from Virginia Tech are hampered.
“I think we should do more,” said District 6 Supervisor Annie Pollard, who said that schools in her district are requesting it.