Cumberland County, which includes rural and undeveloped areas, lacks access to broadband internet in many pockets of the county. The county has created a website www.countybroadband.info which allows residents to conduct a free speed test and then map the data to illustrate homes and businesses that do not meet the FCC’s definition of broadband service.
An extensive investment in infrastructure is required for existing and potential service providers to connect residents outside of the population clusters. Cumberland County is evaluating ways to create a technology infrastructure that will promote innovative and competitive business strategies for internet service providers to fill the gaps of service. One such way under consideration is to create a fiber optic “ring” throughout the county. This ring will have waypoints such as public service communication towers, governmental institutions, etc. Internet service will be brought via fiber optic cable from two directions to provide a level of redundancy and allow for additional opportunities for public-public and public-private partnerships.
Cumberland County government has dedicated $5 million of American Rescue Plan Funding (“ARP”) for fiber infrastructure.