Rural Americans are the have-nots of digital divide

park bench

Dear Editor:

I am extremely passionate about this topic. Like Emily Harsh, I am extremely blessed to have had a long career as a woman in the technology field.

My career was at a national laboratory; these labs replaced AT&T labs as brain tanks. I was involved in some of the cutting edge technologies long before adopted by industry.

I have tried working in industry, and it is boring and slow.

I have more than 10 years working remote — but living in Louisa County, Virginia, broadband isn’t available. We are halfway between Richmond, Virginia, and Charlottesville, Virginia, but we cannot get a clear LTE signal. Fiber will never be laid to housetops.

In October 2018, we offered land to build a tower for wireless broadband. Twelve months later, the land hasn’t been cleared for the tower and needed infrastructure is still MIA.

I have never believed that government should be involved in utilities but without government involvement, industry is only going to spread in populated areas leaving a void in rural areas.

Rural residents cannot compete, rural kids cannot do homework at home, farmers cannot compete and cannot have home-stores.

The digital divide is becoming the divider between the haves and have-nots. And rural America is on the have-not side.

Vicki Wheeler
Mineral, Virginia


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