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Hillsborough wants residents to take a survey to identify areas needing better internet access

An open laptop and a cup of coffee
Hillsborough County is trying to identify areas in need of better broadband internet access.

It comes as the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity plans to issue $400 million in grants to communities that need better internet infrastructure.

Hillsborough County is trying to identify areas in need of better broadband internet access.

This comes as the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity is planning to hand out $400 million in grants to improve internet infrastructure throughout the state.

Cheryl Howell is Hillsborough County's Assistant County Administrator of Equity and Community Impact. She says without consistent internet, certain residents are at a serious disadvantage.

"Internet service is useful for everything, from applying to jobs, to going to school, to working, and for attracting businesses,” Howell said. “So we are hoping to build up our access to high-speed internet, and the areas where it's needed for residents across the board."

To do that, Hillsborough County has released a survey asking residents about their internet access, and asks questions about their current internet access at their home or business.

Howell said better internet access will provide the county with a better sense of equity.

“[It affects] how our children are able to learn and access, and really be on a level playing field,” Howell said. “I don't think that there's any part of what we do that's not going to be impacted."

The survey is available in English and Spanish for all county residents until Dec. 16. If a person can't take the survey online because of internet concerns, paper surveys are available at local libraries.

Counties in the state can apply for the latest round of funding from the state, and receive up to $5 million to improve their infrastructure in the county.

How that money is spent can vary from county to county, depending on whether the county has an co-op that can serve as a hub for internet infrastructure, or if they’ll push private internet service providers in the county to apply for the funding themselves.

The survey is available on the Hillsborough county's website.

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