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Economic developer says broadband access major challenge

Brian Pincelli, Wayne County’s director of economic development, said broadband service is no longer a luxury, but a necessity — nearly on par with a utility.

However, said Pincelli, there are rural sections of Wayne County where broadband access is still lacking — and in far-greater numbers than government estimates.

According to the Wayne County Department of Economic Development and Planning, the state suggests there are about 772 housing units in the county classified as unserved or underserved.

In contrast, a study by ECC Technologies — hired by the county in 2016 to take a look at broadband service issues — indicated that of the 41,057 housing units in the county, 34,508, or 83 percent, are within a census block served by existing broadband infrastructure. That means 6,828 units, or about 17 percent countywide, are unserved or underserved.

The wide disparity may be explained, Pincelli said, because ECC “did some additional homework,” which sometimes went as far as following cable lines.

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