Broadband Internet Access Will Soon Be Coming To Rural Areas In Arkansas

MADISON COUNTY (KFSM) -- It seems our world revolves around high-speed internet which makes things extra tough for those living in rural parts of our area but that could change for more than 16,000 homes and businesses in Arkansas thanks to the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund.

More than 2,000 of those homes and businesses in Madison County.

Holly Hoye lives near Huntsville and said their internet can be spotty at times and it's very frustrating, especially when she was doing her college homework.

“Watching videos, streaming anything can be quite the challenge. There is a lot of buffering just because the internet speed is not great,” she said.

Congressman Bruce Westermann said 30% of rural America still have no access to high-speed internet including himself at his Garland County home.

He said Arkansas does do a good job getting schools and colleges connected, but everywhere else needs help.

“These areas in rural America where homes can't get it, where small businesses can't get rural broadband, it really puts us at a disadvantage. So that's why I'm glad to see programs like the Connect America Fund,” he said.

Nearly $52 million from the FCC’s fund will go to put broadband in homes and business in Arkansas over the next decade.

Over $7 million dollars from that fund will go towards improving broadband services in Madison County alone.

Something Brandi Solorzano says is desperately needed where she lives and works.

“Especially when it rains here, I don't know why, it slows down tremendously and it's not just at my office, it's at my home and it's at all of my friends home. It's a different various location throughout our city, that our internet is just super slow,” she said.

Some people we spoke with say some Madison County residents still rely on dial-up internet.

Westerman said there is no exact timeline for when the internet will become available through the Connect America Fund.

Here is a list of how much money counties in our area will receive through the FCC's Connect America Fund over the next decade.

Benton - $298,115

Crawford - $732,369

Franklin - $1,150,489

Johnson - $924,008

Logan -$384,167

Madison - $7,327,449

Sebastian - $172, 973

Washington - $3,177,208