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Thoughts While Shaving

Greetings from Washington, DC….
Was on the road several hours yesterday, mostly I-95, running nearly 80 MPH, 3 wide for the better part of 7 hours, give or take little, arriving late in the day with 3 others….two using their cell phone to assist as we entered the city, to arrive at the designated location.  We never missed a beat.  No maps, no Garmin, just cell phones…..Speaks volume about the changes that have occurred over the past few years.  And more are on the way…..
Today, we will hear about the need for faster Internet speeds, more and better options for all, nationwide…astronomical speeds are available in urban areas, example, the hotel where we are staying for a couple of days, while much of rural America struggles to reach double digit speeds.  That’s why I, along with the other TMC directors are in DC for a few days, to learn more about services needed for commerce, for education, for rural health providers, so many still woefully lacking in rural America, and much of it has to do with fiber, actually the lack of fiber, about the investments needed to make it happen.
Our government leaders are beginning to understand, you can have the best system in the world, but it must be available in rural areas, like White Oak, Lisbon, Abbottsburg, Kelly, Cypress Creek and Harrells.
It’s expensive, it’s needed, but it will never be available unless there is money to assist rural carriers for the cost of installing the fiber.  For small rural coops, serving areas like Bladen, Sampson, Duplin, Pender, Columbus and others nationwide, averaging 4, 5 or 6 households per square miles, the costs are astronomical.  But like the road system, long ago, it can happen. Many of today’s leaders understand, that private, for profit companies cannot, will never reach many areas, can’t make a business case for it.
It’s a topic being discussed at the state and national level, and today and tomorrow we will learn more about how Star Telephone and other local coops can hopefully better serve, even it takes years.  Gotta start someplace, sometime, hopefully soon.
Representatives from Alaska to Florida and Texas to Maine are in D.C. for a few days to listen and hopefully learn.
robert g hester

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