Sally Aman

Governors Talking Broadband

The folks over at Government Technology undertook an interesting exercise recently – they examined State of the State addresses to get a sense of whether technology is on the minds of the nation’s governors. The result? Broadband and cybersecurity are priorities nationwide.

Governors are focused on putting in place cybersecurity measures to effectively confront threats and taking concrete steps to promote careers in cyber. There was a near-universal focus on the importance of connected classrooms and the need for expanded broadband infrastructure.

From finding a job and receiving a world-class education, to receiving life-saving medical care and connecting with customers around the globe, broadband is the new “must-have” infrastructure – particularly in our country’s rural areas.

    • Currently, two-thirds of all rural jobs are created by small businesses, and they need broadband to expand, grow and hire.
    • Healthcare–from opoid treatment to in-home diabetes care– is also at stake. By 2020 there could be 45,000 fewer rural doctors, making the need for connected care and ready access to medical expertise elsewhere even more critical.
    • When it comes to education, more than five million rural students will be pursuing online college degrees by 2020.

In late 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) signaled it was putting the needs of these rural broadband consumers first by repealing two-year old Obama-era rules that regulated our 21st century internet like a 1930’s era telephone monopoly. The FCC has cleared a path for one set of fair and consistent protections that consumers can count on across the entire internet, without the needless baggage and stifled investment that Title II ignited.

Since the dawn of the internet in the mid-90’s, light-touch regulation has allowed it to evolve from a novelty into a critical part of our everyday lives. For remote communities, access to this 21st century tool will mean everything to anyone who relies on an internet connection for their job, education or health.