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Marsha Blackburn Writes in the Washington Times, We’re Upping the Ante on Broadband Accessibility

 

U.S. SenateWashington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn says, “The idea of “unplugging” for a country getaway has a certain appeal. It is an escape, an opportunity to feel a little smug about selecting a destination that informs guests they shouldn’t expect WiFi — free, or otherwise.

How long that pastoral bliss lasts depends entirely on your tolerance for not knowing what’s going on in your inbox; but eventually, any digitally addicted creature worth their smartphone will recede into her screens, searching for a signal and declaring to unimpressed locals, I don’t know how y’all do it!

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Senator Marsha Blackburn.

Friend, they do it because they don’t have a choice.

These days, encountering a spotty cell phone signal or internet connection causes concern in Americans used to basking in the glow of 5G. They’re living in stark contrast to the millions of rural Americans for whom a broadband connection (or even the pop and hiss of agonizingly slow dial up) is out of reach.

In a world where even simple digital interactions are supported by top-of-the-line equipment and lightning-fast connections, economies in rural America are falling behind.

We read every day about entire industries setting up shop in budding metropolises like Omaha, Charlotte and Nashville; to many, those glowing articles make corporate America’s new hubs sound like remote outposts compared to the familiar crush of the Eastern seaboard. Businesses move inward because they see potential for growth with minimal risk — but there’s only so far they can go.

Rural communities don’t have much to offer in terms of operational support or a reliable customer base. Furthermore, many of these communities lack a crucial resource: the funding and infrastructure to back reliable broadband service.

Broadband networks rely on physical “Internet Exchange” (IX) points. Without these hubs, subscribers of different internet providers can’t communicate with one another.”

Read the rest of Senator Blackburn’s op-ed in the Washington Times.

Earlier today, Senator Blackburn spoke on the Senate floor about the need to pass her Internet Exchange Act to improve internet access for consumers in rural areas. To watch her remarks, click here.


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