Rep. Johnson wrote, “As we prepare for the economy of the future, rural broadband must be an integral component. It’s time we work together — at the federal, state, and local levels — to ensure: our children have the technology and tools they need at home to further their education; businesses have the high-speed internet connectivity they need to effectively compete, succeed, create jobs, and provide opportunities for the hardworking people that live here; patients have access to telemedicine; and, we all have the ability to take advantage of ‘being connected.’”
Internet Access is Essential
By Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
To me, it’s fairly simple. Better internet access means more economic and educational opportunities, and a higher quality of life.
There are currently several barriers to high-speed internet access in many parts of our Appalachian region. Many of you know this unfortunate fact all too well. I’ve heard stories from a countless number of you: children having to go to the local library or to a fast-food restaurant in a neighboring town just to complete their homework; not being able to run a business in today’s information centric world economy; not being able to get online to upload pictures of your grandchildren; dropped cell phone calls; or, simply just not having the internet access necessary in today’s world.
It’s not just families who are at a disadvantage because they don’t have internet access at home. I recently visited a business in Mahoning County — whose property literally backs into the Ohio Turnpike — that is having trouble getting a reliable, high-speed, internet connection they need to run and expand their business. It’s very difficult to run a manufacturing business if you can’t communicate with your customers and suppliers. High-speed connectivity is no longer a “pie in the sky” luxury — it is essential for everyday activities…both at home and at work.
As a member of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, I am leading the charge for a further rollout of broadband internet access in rural areas. Far too many rural communities, like ours, have been left behind — we must bridge this “digital divide.” I have spoken to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, and we have agreed to work together on this issue. He knows how it important it is.
Click HERE to read the column online.
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