Community

Public-private partnership brings broadband to rural communities

BELMONT COUNTY, OHIO (WTRF) - Students are being given iPads instead of textbooks and more adults are starting to work from home making the internet a necessity for people to keep up with their busy lives.

The internet also helps to keep family and friends that live miles apart connected, but our area and many others like it was fallen behind the curve when it comes to keeping rural areas connected to the rest of the world, until now.

Recently, the Belmont County Board of Commission entered into an agreement with Agile Networks, based out of Canton, and the change is already making a big impact on families, like the Banyas' of Flushing.

 "In town we had reliable internet there, but whenever we moved out here there wasn't anything then once Agile became available and I did some research on it and got in contact with Agile Networks, they gave me a lot more information and it was too good of a deal to not jump on," said Robert Banyas. He and his wife are the first household in the county to take advantage of the new service.

Access to high-speed internet is now possible in areas where it's never been available before. This agreement was made between the commission and Agile in October of 2017.

"Now we have wifi throughout my entire house and I'm able to have reliable connectivity," Banyas continued.

For the Banyas family, it means that Jessica can keep her position at her job, without leaving her living room. Before having access to reliable internet she had been driving three-hours a day to get to and from work over the past five years.

"This is 100% of my job, whether having it or not and being able to come home and have my dogs at my feet while I'm typing away and doing what I'm supposed to, to earn a living and support ourselves, that means everything," said Jessica Banyas.

Representatives with Agile said they offer a residential plan for $55 a month including taxes and fees. If they think their service will work at your home, they'll send a technician to install a small satellite and get you connected.

Agile said it's about bringing people in the most rural areas into the 21st century.

"We basically built our business on the back of some state contracts which allowed us to have access to all of the state MARCS towers, which is essentially the public safety network, so we run a high-quality network that services all of the public safety communications in the state of Ohio," said Agile Networks Vice-president of Operations, Vince Little.

Agile will place they transmitters on government-owned structures like radio towers used for police scanners or even water towers.
If you're interested in learning more about Agile Networks and to see if their service is right for your home, you can find more by clicking here.


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