Letter to the editor: Access vital

To the editor:

I grew up in a small town. Slow and undependable internet access was simply a way of life. It wasn’t until I went away to KU that I realized how much I had been missing.

Broadband connectivity is a 21st century necessity. Communities without reliable access have no way to keep up with our rapidly changing world, and this inequality must be addressed.

Connect Americans Now is a new coalition that has been formed with the support of leading technology and telecommunication companies. The coalition has found a way to use existing infrastructure to extend high-speed broadband to rural areas through TV white spaces.

For this initiative to be successful, there needs to be public sector support. Specifically, the FCC needs to ensure the continued use of at least three channels below 700 MHz on an unlicensed basis in every market in the country. There is also a need for federal and state infrastructure investments. In addition, the FCC can improve its data collection on rural broadband coverage.

Private sector capital investment, coupled with public sector support, can solve rural broadband inequities. Sens. Jerry Moran and Pat Roberts need to get behind efforts to push governmental funding and FCC support.