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Residents urged to fill out tech surveys

Within the next few weeks, Pulaski County residents will receive a survey with their PSA bills to complete regarding the types of technology they have in their homes.
Members of the Pulaski County Wireless Integrated Networks Authority who created the survey are urging citizens to fill these surveys out, because it will help them to better serve the technology needs of the local community.
County residents who do not receive a survey with their PSA bill are encouraged to fill the survey out online at the Wireless Authority’s website: www.pcwins.org.
Dr. Jim Sandidge, who serves as the chairman of the Wireless Authority, said that a frustration for many residents in Pulaski County is that they are not served adequately in regards to wireless broadband internet access.
He said that in many sections of the county, including the Lyons Road area, Little Creek, Hiwassee, Snowville and others, there are no options when it comes to internet access, and in some cases, the only option when it comes to technology is satellite service, which can be expensive.
However, the main purpose of the Wireless Authority is to open up more options for connectivity for Pulaski County, so Sandidge said the Authority is hoping that this survey will give residents a voice in expressing their technology needs, and help them to determine which areas in the county are the most underserved.
Wireless Authority Vice-Chair Carol Smith echoed Sandidge’s comments, saying that the survey will "let us know where people are served" and will help them better understand which areas of the county "have no choices" for wireless broadband internet access.
Smith also commented that "as more things are required to be done online, there is a greater need for people to have internet access."
As an example, she said that parents of students within the local school system use an online program called "Parent Connect" as a tool to stay connected with what is going on with their child at school. However, there are many parents who do not have convenient access to the internet.
The Pulaski County Wireless Integrated Networks Authority was formed in 2005, after Pulaski County successfully applied for and received a $30,000 grant in 2004 from the Appalachian Regional Commission to fund a project that would help provide better wireless broadband access to the southern portion of Pulaski County.
Along with Sandidge and Smith, members of the Authority include Dr. John Wenrich, who serves as treasurer, and Tim Jones, who serves as secretary.
Since the Authority was formed, five cell towers have been installed throughout the county, including a primary cell tower at Peak’s Knob and one at Cloyd’s Mountain,which is the newest of the towers, and secondary cell towers on the roof at Snowville Elementary School, one at the old Hiwassee Elementary School building, and another at the Draper Valley Golf Course.
As a rule of thumb, Sandidge said if you can see either the towers in plain sight from your home, in general, you can usually pick up the signal.
While the Authority focuses on developing, promoting, and overseeing the development of wireless broadband internet technologies throughout the County, the actual internet service is not provided by the Authority. Instead, it is currently provided to residents and businesses by the internet service provider (ISP) Professional Networks (Wiredog), based in Galax.
The Authority holds monthly meetings, which are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 3 p.m. in the Pulaski County School Board Office.

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Residents urged to fill out tech surveys

Within the next few weeks, Pulaski County residents will receive a survey with their PSA bills to complete regarding the types of technology they have in their homes.
Members of the Pulaski County Wireless Integrated Networks Authority who created the survey are urging citizens to fill these surveys out, because it will help them to better serve the technology needs of the local community.
County residents who do not receive a survey with their PSA bill are encouraged to fill the survey out online at the Wireless Authority’s website: www.pcwins.org.
Dr. Jim Sandidge, who serves as the chairman of the Wireless Authority, said that a frustration for many residents in Pulaski County is that they are not served adequately in regards to wireless broadband internet access.
He said that in many sections of the county, including the Lyons Road area, Little Creek, Hiwassee, Snowville and others, there are no options when it comes to internet access, and in some cases, the only option when it comes to technology is satellite service, which can be expensive.
However, the main purpose of the Wireless Authority is to open up more options for connectivity for Pulaski County, so Sandidge said the Authority is hoping that this survey will give residents a voice in expressing their technology needs, and help them to determine which areas in the county are the most underserved.
Wireless Authority Vice-Chair Carol Smith echoed Sandidge’s comments, saying that the survey will "let us know where people are served" and will help them better understand which areas of the county "have no choices" for wireless broadband internet access.
Smith also commented that "as more things are required to be done online, there is a greater need for people to have internet access."
As an example, she said that parents of students within the local school system use an online program called "Parent Connect" as a tool to stay connected with what is going on with their child at school. However, there are many parents who do not have convenient access to the internet.
The Pulaski County Wireless Integrated Networks Authority was formed in 2005, after Pulaski County successfully applied for and received a $30,000 grant in 2004 from the Appalachian Regional Commission to fund a project that would help provide better wireless broadband access to the southern portion of Pulaski County.
Along with Sandidge and Smith, members of the Authority include Dr. John Wenrich, who serves as treasurer, and Tim Jones, who serves as secretary.
Since the Authority was formed, five cell towers have been installed throughout the county, including a primary cell tower at Peak’s Knob and one at Cloyd’s Mountain,which is the newest of the towers, and secondary cell towers on the roof at Snowville Elementary School, one at the old Hiwassee Elementary School building, and another at the Draper Valley Golf Course.
As a rule of thumb, Sandidge said if you can see either the towers in plain sight from your home, in general, you can usually pick up the signal.
While the Authority focuses on developing, promoting, and overseeing the development of wireless broadband internet technologies throughout the County, the actual internet service is not provided by the Authority. Instead, it is currently provided to residents and businesses by the internet service provider (ISP) Professional Networks (Wiredog), based in Galax.
The Authority holds monthly meetings, which are open to the public. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 15 at 3 p.m. in the Pulaski County School Board Office.

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