BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Area leaders met Tuesday to discuss ways to bring high-speed internet service to rural and underserved areas in McLean County.

Panelists met in a round-table type discussion regarding some $50 billion nationally that is available from federal, state and county programs.

The push is being done, in part, because many feel reliable internet service is vital to attracting new businesses, education and driving overall economic growth.

Panelists discussed the following ways to achieve digital equity, including:

  • Build and expand telecommunications networks in rural and other areas that don’t already have access to broadband Internet service;
  • Educate low-income residents about the federal Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), which can fully or partially cover the cost of broadband Internet service that’s already available or coming to communities in McLean County
  • Help students and adults develop the digital skills they need to succeed in school and in the workforce.

Participants discussed broadband Internet connectivity and digital skills for people throughout the county.