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Pennsylvania County to Survey Residents About Internet Speed

Somerset County, Pa., officials know that there are some pockets across their jurisdiction where reliable cellular and Internet service are lacking, and they’re asking residents to help find them.

Closeup of a pile of yellow broadband cables with blue caps.
(TNS) — Somerset County officials know there are pockets across Somerset County where reliable cellular and internet service are lacking.

But pinpointing those areas is no easy task, the commissioners said.

The Somerset County Planning Commission is working to change that through a survey urging residents to offer feedback on their home’s internet reliability.

“We know if you look at a cellphone carrier’s coverage maps, there are places that the map shows is covered — but it really isn’t, and unfortunately, there are people who live in those areas,” said Chad Sines, a planner for the county commission. “It’s the same with broadband.”

The brief one-page survey asks residents about internet speeds at their household and to rate their internet and cell service.

The results will allow the county to tailor its portion of a regional high-speed broadband improvement effort on the zones that need it most, Somerset County Commissioner Colleen Dawson said earlier this week.

Through the county’s newly created GIS mapping system, the county will be able to create their own digital “coverage” map to identify “dead zones,” she said.

The information will also help the county in its application process to secure funding needed for the project — a six-county effort estimated to cost tens of millions of dollars, President Commissioner Gerald Walker said.

“There are multiple sources of revenue; we need to know where to spend the money responsibly to create affordable broadband projects for the public,” Dawson said.

The brief survey can be found on the Somerset County Webpage and by visiting the following link https://arcg.is/1KL0fP, county officials said.

Sines said no name identification is needed and he encouraged internet-savvy residents to help relatives who do not have online access to complete the survey.

Those who wish to participate but cannot access the survey online may call 814- 445-1544 for support.

The planning commission plans to collect survey results for several months and may expand their outreach in areas where responses are low, Sines said.

© 2022 The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pa.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.