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Broadband Internet and Rural America

By Chris Szkutak, Musings of a Political Junkie Blog (3/11/11)

  MARCH 22, 2011 --

Throughout history there are times and issues that require us to come together and put our voices as one to stand up for something. Today that issue is access to broadband in rural America. Fast internet is something that many people take for granted, just like many people took for granted having a post office near their house, both of these things could not be taken for granted in certain rural portions of the country. Then as in now, the National Grange is at the forefront of the fight for equality in rural America. Rural Free Delivery in the U.S. happened because of lobbying my members of the Grange and so will Rural Broadband. As a a friend and fellow Granger told me the other day, this is an issue that is sort important to many people and bring people to the Grange. The Grange has been most powerful when we were advocating for something that has wide ranging impact on this country.

However, the issue of Rural Broadband is bigger than just the Grange. Right now 60% of the people in rural America can access broadband internet, while this is a majority, a large portion of the other 40% have limited access to broadband or have no access to the internet at all. Some of you who are reading this right now may be asking, so what? Why should I care about whether or not people can get on the internet? 

First, this is an economic issue. Access to the internet can makes businesses more efficient and gives them access to a great number of customers. This would allow their businesses to expand and thus helps the economy. Second, as more government services are becoming more online based, people will better be able to access the  necessary information for such things as Social Security, filing taxes, etc. Thirdly, it is a social thing. The point of the recent surge in social networking websites, is just that, social networking, an opportunity to make connections with others. As Brian Depew, Director of the Center for Rural Affairs, said in the New York Times:

“You often hear people talk about broadband from a business development perspective, but it’s much more significant than that,” Mr. Depew added. “This is about whether rural communities are going to participate in our democratic society. If you don’t have effective broadband, you are cut out of things that are really core to who we are as a country.
Giving more people access to economic improvement can only help the country, especially in times of economic recession. Internet has become a basic utility, like water and electricity, and has been deemed necessary to fully be part of society. That being said, it only seems right that we support greater access to the internet like we support greater access to electricity and water in this country. 

Information for this article found here .

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