The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce will host public meetings across the county in March to address the need for improved broadband connections.  The meetings will be held Thursday, March 3, in conjunction with Broadband Development Group (BDG), which is researching broadband needs on behalf of the state of Arkansas.

“Improved access to the internet is a need that is felt all across Lawrence County, and this is our chance to make our needs known,” said Renee Bland, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. “BDG is gathering public input to help determine how state broadband funds would be best invested, so we need good turnout for the meetings and a strong response to their online questionnaire.”

The March 3 meetings will include:

  • Hoxie: 9-10 am at Hoxie Service Center
  • Walnut Ridge: 11 am – 12 pm at Lawrence County Meeting Room
  •  Smithville: 2-3 pm at Smithville Community Center

Lawrence County residents are also encouraged to fill out an on-line questionnaire about their broadband needs at .

“The purpose of these meetings and the survey is to speak up for quality internet service in Lawrence County that is fast and reliable,” said Bland. “Please note that this is internet, not cable TV. Our cities are not in the broadband business and neither is the county, but they are advocating for better broadband service for their citizens. This forum is very important for securing the high quality broadband our whole county needs.”

Broadband Development Group was awarded a contract by the Arkansas Department of Commerce to develop a statewide broadband master plan to ensure that all residents, regardless of their locations, have affordable broadband internet access. The official name coined for this effort is called the “ARBroadbandNow Project.” 

BDG is conducting a series of community and town hall meetings in each of Arkansas’ 75 counties to get firsthand feedback and opinions from local residents and businesses about their internet service and experiences.  The data and feedback collected will be used in creating the statewide broadband strategy and implementation plan. The project began in late 2021 and will conclude in April 2022.

The public is encouraged to attend the March 3meetings in Lawrence County. Representatives of BDG will be present to gather information on the county’s broadband needs