The Rappahannock Board of Supervisors has announced a search for county residents willing to volunteer for an ad hoc broadband committee.

Compliments to County Administrator Debbie Keyser for proposing the committee.

Citizens interested in serving should send a cover letter stating knowledge of broadband issues, plus experience, education and interest. Mail it to County Administrator Debbie Keyser by Monday, Oct. 17.

We hope citizens with experience and moxie step up and serve.

The importance of internet broadband to local citizens was demonstrated nearly a year ago when 42 percent of Rappahannock County households completed and returned the Foothills Forum Survey. Concern for internet broadband ranked No. 1 among 25 randomly presented issues, cited by 1,043 responding households. The survey found that one in five homes lacks internet access; one in three lacks cell service, the No. 2 issue. The Rappahannock News published the survey results in a three-part series in April. In August the News presented a three-part series by nationally respected journalist Randy Rieland, our Rappahannock County neighbor. He researched and reported on the county’s history with broadband, citing 15 years of status quo. He interviewed leaders across government, public safety, education and business who spoke of a need to balance internet broadband and cell availability with respect for the county’s unique environment. The series compared where Rappahannock stands vs. surrounding counties as their leaders move to address this regional concern. A packed house at Tula’s on Gay Street joined Rieland, Foothills and the News at a public forum and Q&A on the topics.

Foothills Forum’s interest is straightforward. Objective. We’re not the advocates for broadband or any other issue.

What we did was help identify what matters most to Rappahannock citizens, then channel community-provided funding for research and reporting on those issues.

The volunteer members will serve with Keyser and Supervisor John Lesinski.

As Rieland pointed out, there are no silver bullets. Perhaps the committee can take a second look at the August series to pursue some of the no-cost-to-government approaches cited there. Not to mention, we hope they’ll look into a September announcement of field trials by AT&T Labs’ of a new wireless technology dubbed Project AirGig that mounts small transmitters on existing low-profile power lines.

So contact your supervisor to express interest, and mail that packet to Debbie Keyser.