COVID-19 did not reveal our need for better internet service. We knew that already. But it has shined a light on the lack thereof.
In small towns from Marlinton to Maine and Campbelltown to California, “the ability to connect” is the key that enables rural communities to compete in our modern world. Regionally, we must continue efforts to bring broadband to our rural areas until all who want to be connected, can be connected.
COVID-19 has shown the tremendous need for improving e-connectivity. The use of e-connection is needed for addressing education at all levels and assuring continued healthcare. Programs like Skype, Zoom and WebEx have been around for some time. Now, the current situation requires daily dependence on these programs to conduct business and move commerce, in every sector. These programs are great – when they work.
Recently, in a two-hour Zoom meeting, I lost connection four times. Many have experienced the same frustration.
COVID-19 has confirmed connectivity to reliable, high-speed internet is the necessary foundational component that brings the modern economy into the rural community. Still, a significant number of rural Americans are not connected.
So, why should Marlinton (and Pocahontas County) be interested in the Broadband issue? Broadband will provide the tools to maintain and grow our rural prosperity. From quality health care to advanced education, from precision ag technology at the local farm supplier, to businesses waiting for our rural area to be open to new opportunities.
At the beginning of the new decade, even the local church will be able to use broadband connection to add value to our rural lives.