SHREVEPORT, La. -- Extending affordable broadband internet access to people out in rural parts of the country is a national push by the federal government. And a committee under the Caddo Parish Commission met for the first time to discuss how the state of Louisiana is helping further that goal of closing the digital divide in this area.
"Where everybody will be on an even playing field," Caddo Commission Vice President Roy Burrell says. "That's the key, especially in terms of education and terms of economics."
Louisiana is sending federal grants to providers to expand broadband. But some on the committee are alarmed at how little bang the government is getting for its buck.
According to data from the state, Comcast and CSC Holdings have so far been awarded about half of the money for approximately a combined $12.5 million in projects. That's to bring broadband to a total of 1,250 customers.
"That seems like a poor value," said Caddo Parish Commission President John Atkins.
"Ten-thousand dollars per address? I'd put up satellite (dishes) before that," Committee member Marion Marks added.
Committee member James Carstensen said there are more economical ways to extend high speed internet to rural Caddo Parish towns, like Vivian, Hosston and Oil City.
Burrell says more federal grants are on the way that'll help more people in the parish.