Eastern Kentuckians eager for better access to broadband internet

By: Morgan Lentes Email
By: Morgan Lentes Email

HINDMAN, Ky (WYMT) - If you have been to a library lately, you may have noticed more people surfing the web than checking out books. A Knott County librarian tells WYMT that is just one example of the lengths people will go to access the internet when they cannot at home.

On Wednesday at the Knott County Public Library, some decided their need for internet access was greater than their need to stay warm. So Librarian Tammie Owens said a few people ventured out in the cold, possibly out of necessity.

"A lot of days those are the only people that come out, to use the computer, to get on the internet. They need to research something or school, you know, they are doing papers," said Owens.

Owens added that while books never go out of style, she has heard more clicking of keyboards lately.

"We have people from all age groups and walks of life. Kids, older people that do not want to invest in a computer or buy it, they will come here and learn," said Owens.

It is a luxury many in the mountains would do without if public places like this were not around.

"Sometimes they say their access is slower. The internet is down or some people might have dial up," said Owens.

Hindman Settlement School Executive Director Brent Hutchinson understands that struggle and said he looks forward to gaining greater internet capabilities in the area soon.

"The internet is really the super highway of the future for people to be able to be connected to the world and live in this region," said Hutchinson.

He said giving eastern Kentuckians the resources they need will serve us all well in the long run.

"To have access to things that are outside the region that people here do not even know about or have not thought of, or figure out how to utilize well here puts us on a level playing field," said Hutchinson.

Hutchinson added that better internet access will help the Settlement School especially when it comes to their programs working with dyslexic students.

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