BALD KNOB, Ark. – Connecting to the internet in rural areas has always been a problem that’s only been heightened during the pandemic, especially when it comes to virtual learning. The City of Bald Knob is working to provide a better connection for the community.
Megan Glaze lives outside the Bald Knob city limits. Before COVID-19, she thought her internet connection wasn’t a problem.
“I was unaware of just how bad it was,” Glaze said.
When she suddenly had to teach from home while her kids were learning from home, it became almost impossible.
“You’re in the middle of the video and it’ll stop and just swirl,” Glaze’s daughter Jemma said.
“If they can’t get them to pull up then it’s difficult to do the course work that goes with it,” Glaze said.
Right now, they have to adjust to get all their lessons done. “We’ve found ourselves staggering who gets on when,” Glaze said.
It’s a problem that’s affecting many in the rural community. “They don’t cover a lot of the hills and up and down in the valleys,” Mayor Barth Grayson said.
Grayson is working with Sky Cap to apply for a $2,000,000 Arkansas Rural Connect Broadband grant which would extend that service to those unincorporated areas.
“Uninterrupted internet is always the best answer,” Grayson said.
The plan is to put receivers on existing towers and add about 10 to 12 more.
“To help fill in the gaps where we are already seeing inefficiencies,” Grayson said.
He’s hoping to bring a strong connection to those families, like Graze, who rely on it.
“Because that’s not an option any more to not be able to be virtual,” Graze said.
Grayson said the city will need folks to lease or sell land to build the towers. If you are interested you can call Bald Knob City Hall.