Friday, May 05, 2017

"Everyplace outside a metropolitan area was experiencing the same issues.”

Georgia Tackles the Digital Divide - Broadband Communities Magazine In summer 2016, Gooch and State Rep. Don Parsons formed a joint committee that included 10 members of both legislative houses and held a series of hearings all over Georgia. The committee heard testimony from local governments, state agencies, academic researchers, chambers of commerce, health care providers, incumbent telcos, trade associations and many other interested parties. In addition, it posted an online survey to ask residents about their broadband experiences. With very little promotion, the survey received 12,000 responses. Both the formal testimony and the survey responses confirmed that rural broadband was deficient all through rural Georgia – not just in the areas served by the provider in Gooch’s district. “Everyplace outside a metropolitan area was experiencing the same issues,” Gooch says. “There was no incentive for the providers to upgrade their infrastructures. It was an eye-opening conversation – all these people were from different parts of the state and had different phone companies.”

Georgia's experience shows deficient advanced telecommunications infrastructure is a widespread problem not limited to one part of the state. Nor is it limited to one state. Georgia's experience repeats all over the United States.

Deficient telecommunications infrastructure is not a local or state specific problem. It's a national issue requiring a national solution to bring robust fiber optic telecom infrastructure to every state in the union and to the doorstep of every American home, school and business. And just as long distance telephone service was interstate in the 20th century, so is Internet protocol-based service.

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