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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Marion County Commissioner joins committee to improve broadband in Florida

Marion County Commissioner Michelle Stone will be the county’s champion as the Florida Association of Counties (FAC) seeks to deliver reliable and affordable high-speed internet to all Floridians.

Stone will be one of 67 “County Champions” serving on the FAC’s Presidential Select Committee on Broadband. The committee was formed at the FAC’s annual conference in Orlando this June, and is aimed at eliminating what they refer to as a “digital divide” in Florida.

According to the FAC, lack of broadband infrastructure limits Florida’s counties in delivering public safety, healthcare, economic development, and education.

“I’m honored to represent Marion County on this committee and excited to get to work alongside the other 66 county representatives,” said Stone.

“The pandemic has illustrated just how important high-speed internet access is in today’s world, and I’m eager to help bridge that divide in the underserved areas of our community.”

The committee is part of the FAC’s ACCESS 67 Initiative, intended to create a comprehensive approach addressing the lack of access to critical telecommunication and information technology resources in Florida communities, according to the press release.

Stone will serve as the point person for Marion County to assist the committee and the FAC in advocating, collaborating, and educating on Broadband policy for solutions and best practices.

Marion County has identified broadband infrastructure as a priority going forward, and the Board of County Commissioners is considering a feasibility study to provide high-speed internet to currently underserved areas as part of the American Rescue Plan.