Broadband began replacing dial-up in the early aughts, but two decades later and many rural Americans still have no access to reliable high-speed Internet. The difficulties associated with this became only more pronounced during the pandemic with so many people needing Internet for work and school.
A Story All Too Familiar
Mississippi-based news network Newsy recently published an article exploring the challenges faced by Alexandra Melnick, a high school teacher. Her personal Internet is so bad that she drives about a mile away to a friend’s house in order to host her virtual class there. But many of her students have it worse than that. In fact, she lost about 10 percent of her class when remote learning. Located in the small town of Leland, these students simply lacked Internet access and had no way to participate.
Millions of Americans
This is not a problem limited to the few. Recent estimates have the number at about 42 million Americans who lack access to broadband Internet, and Mississippi is bottom 10 among states in regard to Internet availability. One of the focal points of the infrastructure plan proposed by the Biden administration is expanded high-speed Internet to the Mississippi Delta and other areas like it. Better yet, there is bipartisan support for this expansion, but determining how to pay for it remains a hurdle.
The Cost of Rural Access
Expanding to areas like the Mississippi Delta is not cheap. Internet service providers like Spectrum internet expect costs of approximately $50,000 per mile to connect all homes and businesses. That is not something likely to happen in the short term without federal funding. Having the rural areas of America connected just as well as the cities is integral to the U.S. economy for at least the next 50 years and perhaps longer. Proponents argue that this funding is not a handout but rather an investment in our future.
Municipal Internet Service Providers
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.
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