By Lu Nelsen
The internet is such a powerful tool in modern life, it’s hard for a lot of people to imagine going through their daily routine without using it in some capacity. But for some people in rural communities, accessing the internet isn’t as easy as just connecting to the wifi network.
I recently had the chance to fly to Washington DC along with other rural advocates to talk about net neutrality and broadband access in rural areas. We shared stories that we heard from rural folks across the country with representatives and regulators, and discussed how we could improve service to rural communities.
Most of us already deal with less than desirable service, and the possibility of losing an open and neutral internet would present even more challenges to rural communities. Without net neutrality, internet service providers could make broadband service faster for those that can pay a premium, while others could be pushed into a ‘slow lane’. Right now, it’s up to regulators and legislators to insure that we all have the same access to internet.
It’s important that our representatives keep hearing stories from people who live in rural areas and want better access to broadband internet. Rural small business owners, healthcare workers, schools, farmers, ranchers and other rural residents benefit from internet service that is fast and reliable. We need net neutrality to keep rural America out of the slow lane, and better broadband access to open the road to new opportunities for rural people across the country.
Lu Nelson is a member of the Center for Rural Affairs
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.