by Lisa Tome
Not everyone in Cecil County has access to high speed internet.
And that's critical for economic development.
That is what Doris Mason, Executive Director for the Upper Shore Regional Council, told members of the Cecil County Council last week.
The Upper Shore Regional Council plans to explore USDA grants and loans, conduct a broadband survey, and look for alternatives for filling in the gaps for internet service for uncovered areas.
"We need to wrap our minds around where we have access and where we don't," said Mason.
Mason reported that there has been a shift from wired to wireless access. She also said there is "intense" competition between cable and wire service providers. "Consumers are consistently moving to faster speed tiers. They want access to information quicker and more fully," she said.
The council, which serves Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne's counties, is in existence to foster physical, economic, and social development of the region.
In addition to working to get internet service, the Upper Shore Regional Council has also developed a Harvest Directory. That guide helps locals and tourists find agriculture related businesses in the area. The directory was funded with grant money. It will be expanded and updated. Anyone with an agriculture business may submit information to uppershoreregionalcouncil.org.
"The idea of this is to support Ag based businesses and helping them develop a web presence," said Mason. "The second phase will add more (businesses)." The Harvest Directory is available in both paper form and on line.
"This resource can help local businesses with their marketing strategy," said Mason. Cecil College students will be involved with creating this guide in the future.