Seventh-grader Rhianna Pope at her home in rural Cleburne County. For her on the net courses, she only has her mobile phone and a iPad to hook up to the world-wide-web, which is unreliable.



HEFLIN — By the time it reaches Rhianna Pope’s residence on County Street 821 in rural Cleburne County, the  information superhighway has hit a number of bumps and potholes.

Pope, 14, is a seventh-grader at Cleburne County Middle Faculty. She lives on a crumbling a single-lane asphalt road with   her brother, Koby Hale, 10, and her terrific-grandmother Lola Stephens. 

Entry to the world-wide-web — vital for distant schooling through the pandemic — is marginal at very best.

“I never like the world-wide-web in this article. It is poor. It is terrible,” Pope stated.

Pope also does not have access to a computer at residence to use for remote lessons. “Sometimes I use my iPad, and in some cases I use my cellphone,” Pope reported, despite the fact that that day her iPad was not doing the job.

On the net courses should be less difficult when college commences back future week. Pope’s family was a single of 3 chosen to get a new pc alongside with a very hot location to help link to the online, thanks to a grant from the Alabama Power basis. 

According to Jennifer Swafford, counselor at the middle school, there are not more than enough Chromebook notebook desktops to difficulty 1 to each and every student the way the significant university is ready to do.



Rhianna Pope Cleburne Student

Seventh-grader Rhianna Pope at her property in rural Cleburne County. For her on line classes, she only has her mobile phone and a iPad to join to the net, which is unreliable.



On campus, just about every center college scholar has accessibility to a Chromebook, but Swafford reported college students are only in a position to choose the computer systems residence if they have decided on comprehensive-time virtual understanding and really don’t show up at in-college classes, or if they are underneath quarantine because of to COVID-19 exposure.

“I know it will be a blessing to the household,” Swafford said.

In some cases, no sign

Even if Pope was issued a Chromebook full-time, world-wide-web connectivity would nonetheless be an issue. 

 “The world wide web is, like, extremely slow at times and it can be extremely complicated,” said a comfortable-spoken Pope.

“It will just say, ‘no net connection,’ and like the other working day the lights and stuff had been all environmentally friendly and the Television was not doing the job and it saved on saying, ‘there’s no sign,’” Pope claimed.

“For 3 months, we couldn’t use the web. I experienced to stream my web from my phone,” she claimed.

Pope’s fantastic-aunt, Gersheba Austin, reported the family’s web service provider, Centurytel, experienced to occur out twice because the service would go out randomly.

Centurytel, also recognised as CenturyLink, transformed its identify final 12 months to Lumen. When questioned about Lumen’s attempts to supply internet assistance to Cleburne County, general public relations supervisor Danielle Spears responded with an e mail.

“Sparsely populated places like Cleburne County are hard for any communications company to serve thanks to the expenses of developing and maintaining the community infrastructure,” Spears wrote.



Rhianna Pope Cleburne Student

Seventh grader Rhianna Pope at her property in rural Cleburne County. Her spouse and children was one particular of a few chosen to receive a new laptop and world-wide-web very hot spot via a grant from the the Alabama Electric power Foundation. 



“We’re constantly wanting at approaches to expand or greatly enhance our broadband providers, which involves operating intently with policymakers on imaginative public-private partnerships that inspire broadband investment decision and convey substantial-velocity world-wide-web providers to more properties and enterprises.”

Stephens, the wonderful-grandmother, stated at initial there was no world-wide-web accessible at her home when on the internet studying grew to become necessary, forcing the family to temporarily relocate with a family member who experienced net company. 

Pope reported the dwelling wifi will go out with no warning or bring about.

Austin was appreciative of the new personal computer and warm place, which will support with Pope’s on line studying practical experience.

“I’m grateful for the faculty that nominated her and submitted her name. She’ll be capable to make definitely great use of acquiring that computer,” Austin stated. 

For her component, Pope explained she is “very, very grateful” for the computer she will acquire.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.