Rural areas still unplugged

Monday, January 14, 2019

I am blessed to live in an area that allows me to connect with my friends, family and TV shows through broadband internet. I love being able to talk to my family and friends through social media. Especially, if they live far away and I cannot see them everyday. The majority of my coworkers have cut the cord and are now watching all their favorite TV shows online. However, not all of my friends or relatives are that lucky and get to experience that luxury lifestyle of having everything right before them.

It's 2019 and surprisingly, there are still a lot of folks in the area that cannot get broadband internet. I hear people talk about Netflix every week. Nobody can have that without high-speed internet with unlimited access. It almost sounds like a joke to say that not everybody is on board with this. But then I think about my own father. He cannot get access to broadband internet where he lives.

He'll say "what's Netflix? Oh yeah, that's that thing my daughter has. She doesn't even have TV." But I do. And I don't have to pay much for it or worry about a storm coming by to lose my favorite TV shows like him. It's not just TV or keeping in touch with friends and family that's the issue, but also trying to get homework done online is a growing problem as well. I say 'growing' because more kids are being required to do some sort of online activity assignment.

I've had plenty of moments in life where my internet saved me much time and trouble. Watching life hack videos online have become a norm for me. Talking on the phone seems to be a thing in the past if you can just turn on your camera and wave hi to your friends live. And if I needed to get directions to my next destination asap, I can easily use Google without any lagging.

Video games have also changed since they debuted as well all know. People no longer have to blow on the cartridges. Video games are online or on discs, but require online access to better experience the game. I know I've played on Xbox a lot in my days and without having broadband access can keep one out of touch to more advantageous in a game.

Perhaps not everything requires broadband, but just high-speed internet. For example, Alexa requires some sort of internet access and wifi. For some rural areas, satellite internet is the only option. And as a past satellite internet customer, I know that it wasn't my best decision because I wasn't given unlimited access, and right away I knew I was going to hit my limit within hours.

I was a SEMO student and I managed to survive without having internet access there except the internet on my phone at that time. Thankfully, wifi on campus and local businesses helped me out. It's really all I needed without having to add more monthly expenses. But as a former SEMO student, it is most definitely required to have internet access to do some homework.

The next time you see someone sitting down in a coffee shop or other public location using the free wifi, never judge them. Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone loves the internet.

Back in April of 2018, the FCC stated that they will push forward helping rural communities get access to broadband internet. I have a lot of friends from St. Louis and fast internet is all that they've ever known. In this connected world, the push for unplugged small towns getting connected needs to speed up. I am hoping this is the year we finally see a change!

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: