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Expanding Internet Access
by Greg Martin, click here for bio
Program: Line on Agriculture
Date: July 25, 12
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Expanding Internet Access. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
For a great many people high speed internet access is taken for granted. Especially those people in urban areas. But there are many more places in the country where that kind of fast access is not available and if you’ve ever used dial-up, you know how slow and frustrating it can be. The House Committee on Small Business recently held a hearing evaluating the role of the federal government in expanding broadband access throughout the country. American Farm Bureau Rural Development Specialist R.J. Karney says the issue is not only important for rural areas.
KARNEY: As the U.S. economy overall is trying to regain momentum Farm Bureau really sees high-speed broadband having great potential to bring rural businesses a lot more market value and bring them into the global market and driving the economy forward.
But Karney says right now rural areas are at a disadvantage.
KARNEY: There is a growing digital divide and Farm Bureau is very concerned that with this digital divide that rural America will be left behind. Just like in the 1930s when they rolled out universal telephone service, that’s where we are today. It is vital for these rural communities, for these businesses that they have access to the markets, for farmers and ranchers to be able to check their commodity markets, for rural hospitals you need access for highspeed telemedicine, for rural schools sometimes you need long-distance learning.
Karney says the federal government is moving in that direction by transitioning away from providing high-cost telephone infrastructure to highspeed broadband.
KARNEY: This is a fairness issue. Small businesses whether you’re in urban or rural America, nowadays you need access to highspeed internet. If you’re going to be competitive and add value to your community you need to have this access. And right now rural America does not benefit from the access that is available for urban communities.
He says Farm Bureau is working to get highspeed internet access throughout the country.
KARNEY: Farm Bureau is asking Congress to find a way to revitalize rural communities, to provide the proper education, to provide hospital service. We really believe that this could be utilized through the use of broadband highspeed internet.
Karney explains why many parts of the country don’t have reliable internet service.
KARNEY: It costs more for a service provider who’s going to be building out the internet to rural communities just because there is a smaller population that lives within these communities. So there is a need for some type of assistance for these companies to have an incentive to build out to these rural communities and build outside the towns. Dial-up is just an unacceptable connection for the internet in this current age.
That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network.
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