Walton County Approves Broadband Feasibility Study

DeFuniak Springs, Fla. - Walton United Broadband Initiative committee met with County Commissioners today, to clearly define their next step in fixing the technology.
DeFuniak Springs residents are one step closer to having broad connectivity and internet access. Walton County officials authorized a full study to determine how they can bring better service to the area.

"We got permission to do that from the board.This meeting, we defined the scope of what we want to find out broadband wise in Walton County. Who has it, who doesn't have it, what the cost is, where the wires are laid in the ground and what we can do to improve the services for the citizens of this county," said Rick Wilson, Walton County Projects and Programs Manager.

Their initiative stemmed from public safety concerns. Officials told us they want to bring the county's connections up to speed.

"We feel our citizens deserve better so we want to hit up our community centers, our libraries, our rural areas so that the secondary education, telemedicine, tele-health options are available to them," said Wilson.

The committee decided they are going to look into "dig" possibilities which means, during any construction, it would be required for the builders to lay conduit for fibers allowing for connections.
"I think a good suggestion was made today that from now on, we need to encourage developers if you have a subdivision this is one of the requirements that we require," said Sara Comander, Walton County Commissioner.

The committee told us their goal is to reach 100 percent connectivity and possible free internet.

"We are looking to find a solution to provide internet county wide to our residents. Right not, most of them do not have high speed internet and we want to provide that for them. This feasibility study will hopefully give us a clear path to that end goal," said Wilson.

"One of the difficult things is that we are so rural in the North end, there may not be another house for a mile or two it's difficult to provide that. But that is our ultimate goal," said Commissioner Comander.
While some residents are tired of waiting for access, most see this as a step in the right direction.
Wilson told us they will soon issue requests for qualifications for companies who could conduct the feasibility study for Walton County.

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