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Monday was the last day the Federal Communications Commission would accept comments on its national broadband plan. According to one website, the agency was “awash in advice from companies, industry associations, and public interest groups.” PC Magazine has a rundown here of some of what the big players are advising. You’ll note that the PC Mag article does not mention rural. Verizon does, however, say that the priority of any national broadband plan should be providing service to the 10% of Americans without access. Google is most interested in more fiber being laid.
Meanwhile, USA Today ran a story headlined, “Rural Americans Long to be Linked.” Reporter Leslie Cauley heads to Plains, Texas, and finds people who feel broadband has become a service that ought to be available to everyone. “Just because we live in rural America doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have broadband,” says Roper, a third-generation peanut farmer. “We’re all Americans. We shouldn’t be treated less than anyone else.”
Cauley reports that the “biggest argument in favor of rural broadband, however, can be boiled down to two words: job creation.” She then finds the various ways rural residents rely on broadband — on the ranch, at the library, taking on-line courses.