During two recent meetings regarding the future of rural counties like Calhoun, the issue of the "information super highway" surfaced. Statements made by local leaders and citizens were critical of the Frontier phone company and Charter Cable for not bringing the minimal technology to Calhoun, service that most American's take for granted.

Essentially they say there are not enough customers, too scattered.

At "The Future of Calhoun County" forum, which included comments by several local citizens, the participants concluded the county is far behind in rapid or even dependable electronic access to the internet, or fiber-optic services that would permit business and economic growth.

They concluded the lack of such infrastructure will keep Calhoun and other poor, rural West Virginia counties, stumbling and poor.

The internal counties do not have a modern and safe highway to reach the outside world, the future of technology infrastructure is also bleak.

Neighboring Gilmer County could be the exception.

Glenville will become a wireless broadband pilot project through the Appalachian Regional Commission's efforts to "bridge the digital divide."

A $250,000 project was announced last week to create a pilot project with Glenville State College.

It is equally funded by ARC and the Benedum Foundation, with technical support from Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Appalachian Network Access.

Broadband Internet capabilities allow for the high-speed transmission of large amounts of data, in addition to streaming video.

Gilmer was chosen because it lacked community-wide broadband access. Verizon is the phone company.

The project will likely take a year to complete. It will provide access at schools, small businesses and community development centers.

The Calhoun Commission will be asking for special help to provide better services to the area.

Hur Herald ©from Sunny Cal
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