Opinion: A targeted approach to connecting rural communities to broadband is critical for a more prosperous America
By Jeff Link and Patty Judge, co-founders of Focus on Rural America.
Des Moines Register
May 4, 2021
Americans rely on reliable, high-speed internet for everything from education and business to health care and socializing. However, the disparities in connectivity across the nation continue to grow starker. Today in rural communities — including here in Iowa — 1 in 5 people are living without access to broadband; the piecemeal progress made over the last decade has left major gaps across the country.
The past year forced many to come face to face with this slanted reality. Take, for example, education. As schools went remote, rural children fell behind even further. Lack of reliable, high-speed internet during the pandemic is more than a tough year for these children. By failing to remedy the issue, we limit their opportunities and potential. Or take agriculture — agriculture is in the midst of a technological revolution that is fundamentally changing production. Today, farmers rely on cutting-edge precision technology — robots, sensors, drones, and more — to compete in a world market. Yet, nearly one-third of America’s farmers lack internet access. This has far-reaching ramifications for farm families and consumers around the world.