LittleT June Update

Tony Deakins, Little T Broadband

LTBS has concluded its survey of residents and businesses within its service area. The overall response exceeded expectations, and your individual responses were extremely informative. We now are working through the process of distilling data into information, and will report more on that in the next update toward the end of July~early August. Again, thank all of you who responded to the survey. 

The engineering on "Fast Start" has been completed from an LTBS perspective. This led to further collaboration with the Macon County Board of Commissioners and BalsamWest FiberNet. That collaboration has culminated into a funding plan being developed by the County and BalsamWest. The 'particulars' of that plan should be finalized prior to the end of July; hopefully in time to be described in the July update. 

The funding plan through the County will cover the US 441 leg of Fast Start. The response from the Golden Leaf Fund for the Highlands leg is still pending. While it is the smaller of the two 'legs' to be completed via Fast Start, its importance is, nonetheless, mission critical.

Going forward, we still need to raise more funding to enable distribution of services beyond Fast Start via grants both from government and private providers. To that end, we need all the help we can get in the area of grant research and writing ... and, eventually grant management. 

We also want to assist our two community associations in finding grants and other funding to start working on local programs assisting residents and businesses through the combination of community resources and high-speed internet access. Now is the time to start making actionable all of those good ideas we all have expressed regarding the community value-add were broadband available.

In this period of pandemic constraints on "normal" life, we need to look forward, in a planning sense, to when Covid-19 is suppressed but the changes it's made to our lives continue. These chances include telemedicine, remote learning, the educational "slide", etc.  Those having access to broadband will, I imagine, transition fine, grow, and prosper. Those without, will doubtlessly struggle with a reduced quality of life. We can't let that be us.