Let’s Talk About INFRASTRUCTURE
Top Bipartisan Concerns of Rural Constituents: Investment in Telecommunications Infrastructure.
Happy New Year! It’s January 1, first day of 2018, and as I sit here and try to upload my first blog post of the year to my website I am reminded yet again why investment in telecommunications infrastructure is my personal pain point. I, like so many of us in District 4, live out in the country. It’s a beautiful place with rolling hills and sweeping views and crappy internet. We run a business, a campground on a lake. Our guests don’t think of internet as a luxury, it’s a basic service and it’s expected. We have the highest level of internet service available in our area and its inconsistent at best: spotty, slow, chronically intermittent. It is so unreliable that we keep a second internet plan as a back up for the times the internet is too slow for the most basic use: email and online banking. We are paying two to three times as much as our urban counterparts and still feel like we are getting a bare minimum service. We are far from the “internet of things” capability of integrated smart products and the technology and services that urban consumers take for granted. Even talking about high speed internet or broad band makes most technology loving rural residents sigh wistfully.
Access to technology is absolutely essential for our communities to prosper. Here in District 4, we need high speed internet and more infrastructure investment to bring better telecommunications to all of us. I support treating internet access as a public utility so that all Americans regardless of where they live can have access to essential services. If telecommunications companies can’t or won’t make the necessary investment to bring rural communities into the same modern age as the rest of the country, Congress needs to bridge the gap. Our inability to connect hinders our children’s access to education and affects businesses ability to compete globally. It means rural businesses do not have equal access to global market places or access to real-time technology that could improve efficiency and profitability. Agriculture is a prime example of a rural based industry that could see tremendous positive impact from technological advances that depend on connectivity. Telecommunications infrastructure investment is vital and will determine if rural communities become places of innovation and prosperity or if they get left behind.