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Rural areas deserve broadband investment, too

Rather than reinvesting in locations that already have (internet) broadband to make it better, the pandemic relief money should go to places that don’t have any broadband at all.”

That’s a quote-paraphrase that ran in an Associated Press story in The Express this past Monday from a top internet industry executive.

And we agree with a new U.S. Treasury-Biden Administration policy that says as much.

Rural areas have for too long been bypassed when it comes to meaningful broadband investment.

Sure, cities and urban areas need broadband – reliable broadband.

But people living in rural areas continue to suffer without it.

Take our region, for example.

Drive perhaps 10 minutes in certain directions out of town and homes and business have minimal internet service — if any — and even struggle to get dependable cell service.

Yes, perhaps some don’t care.

But the way things are going – like it or not – more services and amenities in life are coming by way of the internet.

The industry has and continues to slowly convince (some would say brainwash) us all that we cannot live without internet service.

Appliances.

Security systems and doors.

Phones.

Medical devices.

Refrigerators.

Baby monitors.

Vehicles.

Thermostats.

Televisions.

Need we continue?

Again, like it or not, that’s where things are and are going.

Why should people who “live in the woods” not have access, or at least have to wait in line while cities and urban areas see their internet infrastructure improved?

Give all people a choice.

If the U.S. Treasury goes forward with its rule as originally written, sparsely populated areas currently lacking broadband could leapfrog certain urban areas in their internet speeds.

Investment in cities and urban areas certainly won’t stop.

But rural areas deserve more attention — more investment — than they’re getting.

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