An effort is now underway to create a parcel-by-parcel map of broadband availability in Cass County. Sarah Snoeyink with Market Van Buren tells us the agency teamed up with Cass County to secure a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to develop the map. She says there hasn’t been a complete study of broadband availability in the county.
“Currently, the maps that are available showing broadband availability in Cass County are highly unreliable,” Snoeyink said. “There are some maps available from the state, but most impo0rtant, there are some maps available from the FCC. Although they’ve improved over time, they’re still notoriously inaccurate.”
Market Van Buren obtained the grant for the county, which has now hired DCS Technologies to go all over Cass County studying each property. That’s the same company that worked with Berrien County and Van Buren County for the same purpose.
“Once this map is completed, the three county planning region – which is Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren counties – will actually have a cohesive map. We believe this is probably the first regional map like this in the state of Michigan.”
Snoeyink says having accurate broadband maps will position Cass County to apply for grants to further roll out access, much as Berrien County has done. In fact, now that all three counties in the region will have those precise maps, regional grants could be sought. Snoeyink says the mapping started this week. In November, a report with the results will be presented to the Cass County Board of Commissioners.