|Jun 24, 2013 --
Broadband service in the small town of Stafford, Ohio was slow and unreliable. Only available via satellite, the speed of the connection was very dependent on the weather; on cloudy days, there could often be no internet access at all. The slow connection speeds hindered projects critical to town members and local businesses, rendering them unable to work with large data sets or high resolution images, or anything else requiring high bandwidth.
How Rural Development Helped:
In 2011, Crystal Broadband Networks, Inc. received a Community Connect Grant for $570,800 to provide broadband service to the town of Stafford. One of the purposes of the grant money was to allow faster emergency response from Stafford, which frequently experiences severe weather conditions. As such, bringing broadband to the community was doubly important.
The new broadband network built by Crystal Broadband has brought tremendous changes to Stafford, OH. For example, Levi Morris is a resident of Stafford who attends law school in Philadelphia. Though he likes the city, he enjoys spending summer break at home with his parents. When presented with an opportunity to work on a law project remotely over the summer, he was worried that the existing internet connection would make the work difficult, even impossible. Now that the Community Center is open for business, Levi can use the computers and the faster broadband connections available there to do his work.
To address the severe weather often experience in the town, Crystal Broadband Networks has included technology that allows the village to receive and communicate virtual, real-time severe weather warnings which will be a great asset to the town in times of emergency. Additionally, free internet service is being provided to the town’s volunteer fire department for the next two years, adding additional advantages to their emergency response network.
The Ohio State Director for Rural Development remarked that businesses in Stafford will be given a tremendous leg-up thanks to the town’s new broadband connection, and Deputy UnderSecretary for Rural Development, Doug O’Brien, applauded the network on a visit to the town, noting impacts on health and safety as well as an increased ability for families to stay connected through technology.
Crystal Broadband Networks and Stafford, OH were also featured on the USDA blog: http://blogs.usda.gov/2013/06/07/usda-community-connect-project-brings-the-world-to-a-rural-ohio-village/
For more information on the Telecom Program or any of its success stories, contact Jessica Mailander at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-720-0698.
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