April 19, 2024

Letter to the editor: Broadband internet and Meigs County

Dear Editor,

President Biden will soon roll out an infrastructure proposal to not only rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, but also ensure that more onramps to the information highway, or broadband networks, exist for those living in rural communities across the country. For this proposal to be successful all types of technologies and networks need to be leveraged, including fixed wireless.
For the Biden administration and lawmakers in Washington, this will be a once in a generation opportunity to finally close the digital divide and connect millions of Americans to broadband services that have remained out of reach for many in rural areas, and cement in place a legacy that previous administrations have aspired to.

While smart and tailored policy solutions can connect communities to affordable, future-proof broadband today, if lawmakers fail to include fixed wireless as one of the tools in the connectivity tool box then millions of truly unserved Americans will wait years more to gain access to the internet and taxpayers will be on the hook for billions in unnecessary spending. Fixed wireless networks can be dispatched in a matter of months and cost much less than other types of infrastructure while providing a superior experience for consumers.

Wireless Internet Service Providers, or WISPs, have been building innovative communications networks for over twenty years and currently connect more than seven million Americans to the broadband services they use to run their businesses, access telehealth services and educate their children, especially during this truly historic pandemic. In fact, I represent a WISP, New Era Broadband, currently delivering broadband to our county’s households, businesses and public institutions – a small business which takes great pride in the high-quality and community-oriented service we are able to offer our customers who have been passed over by larger companies for more lucrative financial returns in urban and suburban areas.

WISPs stand ready to join President Biden in his goal of connecting all remaining Americans without access to broadband, and encourage lawmakers to rise above the political gamesmanship of entrenched special interest groups in Washington who are hard at work promoting a one size fits all plan for consumers which are typically suited for urban areas and leave us country folks high and dry!

David Hannum Founder and Co-Owner New Era Broadband