High-Speed Broadband: Why Can’t Rural America Get the Access it Needs?

High-Speed Broadband: Why Can’t Rural America Get the Access it Needs?

Do you live in rural America? Have you ever driven miles just to connect to wifi? Maybe you barely get phone service at your place, or perhaps you can’t afford to buy more than 10 gigs of data for your home because of steep prices. Either way, it’s undeniable rural America desperately needs more and better broadband service to prosper.

Connection to broadband allows businesses to exist and thrive in rural locations. It allows businesses to exist and thrive in rural locations. Without high-speed connectivity, businesses, including family farms are at a competitive disadvantage, according to Chris Allendorf, vice president of external relations and general counsel at Jo-Carroll Energy in Elizabeth, Illinois.

Founded in 1939 as a part of the Rural Electrification Act of 1936, Jo-Carroll Energy is a cooperative providing natural gas, broadband, and electric services to thousands of rural accounts across four counties in Northwest Illinois. The cooperative serves an average of four consumer-owners per mile of line. Compared to the thirty or more consumers per mile average for investor-owned and municipal utilities in urban areas. Low customer density is an important statistic to keep in mind when considering how best to help facilitate deployment of large-scale broadband access in rural America, says Allendorf.

Much like the electrification of rural America 80 years ago, Allendorf thinks expanding rural broadband across the country will take large involvement from the government. Listen to Arable Media’s interview with Allendorf as he talks about why rural America needs access to high-speed broadband, what the challenges are, and what you can do to get the government involved.

Do you have a personal story about how rural broadband connection has changed your operation or business in rural America? If so, reach out to Ali so she can share and spread messages that support expansion of rural America’s broadband connection.

Read Allendorf’s testimony to Congress during a House Small Business Committee hearing.

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