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All students deserve to have access to high-speed internet

I recently read in the New Albany Tribune that Gov. Holcomb was in Clarksville and New Albany, Ind. His purpose was to discuss COVID-19 and broadband infrastructure in Indiana. He announced a second round of grants and the state will be providing more than $51 million for broadband infrastructure projects in homes and commercial locations across the state. The first round provided $28 million.

Those who work from home, students and telehealth participants depend on the internet.

The Harrison County Community Foundation and Mainstream Fiber Networks have been installing high-speed internet for about three years. They promised to supply Harrison County residents with high-speed internet and have the funds to do so but to date have not supplied their goal of 85%.

On April 21, 2020, Mainstream signed a contract with Floyd County and has since expanded there. They have not fulfilled their promise to Harrison County.

Recently, the commissioners granted $100,000 for students of some public and parochial schools. Why hasn’t Mainstream and the Foundation of Harrison County fulfilled their promises?

Gov. Holcomb and his staff should follow up on the fact they have not kept their promise and audit the records before any additional money is provided. I know that some of the commissioners, if not all, have broadband in their homes and have no students living in their homes.

I have a student, and we have not been allowed to have broadband installed in our home. We were told there were not enough homes on our road.

My student did virtual online study from March to June 2020 on dial-up internet with Frontier and it was not a good experience as it is very slow and difficult to keep up with the classmates who have high-speed access.

At the (Harrison County) council meeting on Aug. 24, 2020, I was told, “If we give it to you, everybody will be down here asking for it.” Well, what is wrong with that? Who wouldn’t want their student to succeed and have the same chance as other students who have access to high-speed internet? And now, his school is back to virtual learning online again because of COVID-19.

Douglas Willard | New Salisbury, Ind.

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