Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Broadband development for rural counties

The United States is currently engaged in a nationwide project aimed at providing high-speed and reliable internet access to every household, known as the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program.

This initiative, reminiscent of the Rural Electrification Act (REA) of 1936, seeks to improve the quality of life and support businesses in rural America by connecting them to the digital world. BEAD, funded by the federal government and implemented by states, has significant potential to benefit agricultural communities across the nation.

Just as rural electrification transformed lives in the past, ensuring proper broadband infrastructure today is crucial for maintaining rural business competitiveness and enhancing rural quality of life.

Rural communities, often overlooked in large infrastructure projects, now have a chance to benefit. State broadband offices are sharing maps with people to gather input, ensuring that resources reach those who need them most. The pressing need for quality and affordable internet in rural areas cannot be overstated, especially in comparison to urban and suburban areas.

High-speed broadband offers more than just Netflix and entertainment; it facilitates education, telehealth, and efficient farming practices. Access to online resources ensures that children can keep up with their studies, adults can pursue higher education, and farmers can enhance their productivity Telehealth services and remote veterinary assistance become more accessible, reducing the need for costly travel. Furthermore, reliable internet connectivity enables agricultural businesses to reach broader markets and conduct business with ease.

Each state has established a process for the public to correct any inaccuracies in broadband maps. By participating within the designated time window (normally just 30 days), residents can ensure the communities where their households, businesses, or farms are located receive funds so that better internet infrastructure is built there. The broadband office in your state can quickly guide you to the appropriate website where their maps for public participation are held, so they are easy to find.

Navigating state broadband maps is a straightforward process and there is a nearly uniform process throughout the country. When you visit your state broadband map — in Washington, tinyurl.com/WA-Broadband-Office — simply enter your address and you will see a color-coded dot representing internet availability: green for sufficient speeds, yellow for eligible but lower speeds, and red for areas lacking quality internet. Those with green dots meeting or exceeding the standard speed may not be eligible for funding, while those with yellow or red dots qualify for support. If your address shows a green dot but does not have access to high speed internet, there are simple steps to challenge the data to improve accuracy, and in return, federal funding eligibility.

For those finding the process confusing, assistance is available through state offices or by reaching out for support. Correcting state broadband maps is not only beneficial for individuals but also for rural communities at large.

Just as rural electrification transformed lives in the past, ensuring proper broadband infrastructure today is crucial for maintaining rural business competitiveness and enhancing rural quality of life. By participating in the process, rural communities can ensure that they are not bypassed and that they get the appropriate benefits from this landmark funding and legislation.

To report your internet speeds, visit https://wa.broadbandnavigator.com/map.

 

Reader Comments(0)

 
 
Rendered 07/18/2024 02:58