ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Rural Florida Cites Need for Better, Cheaper Broadband

internet
According to the White House, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds. File photo: ShutterStock.com, licensed.

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed by Congress contains $65 billion to give every American affordable access to broadband internet service.

The need is pronounced in Florida’s small, rural towns, where reliable internet can be hard to find, a situation which came into focus when the world was thrust into doing everyday business online instead of in-person.

Julio Fuentes, president and CEO of the Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said the pandemic exposed problems with lack of access that have been around for many years.

“Then COVID comes around and it kind of got multiplied times a thousand,” Fuentes recounted. “It was kind of a slap in the face to wake up; that this is a real, real problem, you know, because obviously everybody was — kids were doing school from home and doctor’s appointments from home.”


FREE DIGITAL SUBSCRIPTION: GET ONLY 'FEATURED' STORIES BY EMAIL

Big Tech is using a content filtering system for online censorship. Watch our short video about NewsGuard to learn how they control the narrative for the Lamestream Media and help keep you in the dark. NewsGuard works with Big-Tech to make it harder for you to find certain content they feel is 'missing context' or stories their editors deem "not in your best interest" - regardless of whether they are true and/or factually accurate. They also work with payment processors and ad-networks to cut off revenue streams to publications they rate poorly by their same bias standards. This should be criminal in America. You can bypass this third-world nonsense by signing up for featured stories by email and get the good stuff delivered right to your inbox.
 

According to research from the group Broadband Now, affordability is Florida’s most pressing problem, as fewer than six in 10 Floridians have access to a low-cost internet service plan. A study by the global Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found the U.S. has the second-highest broadband costs in the developed world.

Fuentes has been critical of the Federal Communications Commission’s months-long delay of its Emergency Broadband Benefit program. It offered households in need $50 a month toward broadband service, and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop or other computer, if they contributed just $10 to the purchase. Fuentes thinks it should’ve been deployed at the beginning of the pandemic.

“And we saw how bad it was once COVID came around, so I think everybody is somewhat on the same page when it comes to this particular issue,” Fuentes contended. “But again, I just wish it would’ve been a lot sooner than later.”

Fuentes thinks the current rollout of rural internet systems in hard-to-reach communities will be, in his words, “like night and day for everyone,” especially struggling students, and the teachers who’ve been trying to connect with them.


Comment via Facebook

Corrections: If you are aware of an inaccuracy or would like to report a correction, we would like to know about it. Please consider sending an email to corrections@publishedreporter.com and cite any sources if available. Thank you. (Policy)