Lancaster supervisors push to get broadband for all

Jackie Nunnery

by Jackie Nunnery

LANCASTER—In 1936 Congress passed the Rural Electrification Act, which provided federal loans to create electrical networks for rural America. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, at that time only 10% of farms had power because the costs to get electricity to rural areas were prohibitive. Less than 20 years later, that number had jumped to 80%.

Like electricity, high-speed internet is now a necessity rather than a luxury. And like electricity, prohibitive costs have prevented universal high-speed internet in rural areas. However, unlike electricity, the approach to getting internet in rural areas has been vastly different. A complicated array of federal and state grants, sped up with access to funds related to the pandemic, have chipped away at households without access, but the process has been slow. Too slow for many still without a service that is increasingly relied upon for medical care, education and employment.

“Nothing explains broken government more than how broadband has been handled. It’s been done backwards. Telecom companies should have been the driver….

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