To the Editor,
Not long ago, Internet access was seen as more of a luxury than anything else. Today, it is paramount to success in the 21st century business world. Unfortunately, while the need is universal, access is not.
In President Obama’s most recent State of the Union address, he pledged to connect “every part of America to the digital age”. This will impact approximately 300 million citizens, many of which are members of rural and underserved communities.
Recent polls estimate that 1/3 of rural inhabitants currently do not have the latest broadband technology to provide them with the tools to keep up in the business world and to take advantage of job opportunities and the best health care and education opportunities. The consequences of this are serious, especially when considering the impact it has on our nation’s farmers.
Up to the minute weather and commodity information is essential to those in the farming industry. Furthermore, ready access and communication with customers, suppliers, and food processors are key components to success. Wireless and mobile broadband availability is crucial for making these pieces of the puzzle fit together efficiently, yet many farmers are forced to manage their enterprises without it. It is pretty difficult for a farmer to compete effectively on the national market if his “up to the minute” information loads about as quickly as it takes a pot of coffee to brew.
The FCC is currently considering a merger between AT&T and T-Mobile. One benefit of the union will be greater access to 4G service in rural regions where service has traditionally been unreliable or non-existent. Approval of this merger proposal will provide rural businessmen and farmers the tools they need to be successful in the 21st century global market.
Doug Colglazier, CCP Inc.