LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Fiber is a major issue

Published 2:21 pm Monday, February 21, 2022

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Washington rarely gets things right, but funding for broadband expansion across the country is a step in the right direction. Now, it’s up to our local elected

officials to invest those monies in technology and providers that we can count on.
It may surprise folks living in big cities that roughly 77 million Americans are unserved or under-served as it relates to internet connectivity. This is especially true in rural areas of our country and for those of us in Stanly County, it is an everyday reality. We’re constantly dealing with slow speeds and spotty connections while trying to learn virtually, stream the latest shows or jump-start a business. Without adequate broadband, urgent tasks like applying for jobs or unemployment, scheduling a vaccine appointment or seeing loved ones are difficult or impossible. Not only do we pay a personal price when we can’t stay connected, but the economic future of our community suffers as well. Too many of our students fell behind during the COVID-19 pandemic and too many businesses struggled to compete.

Advocates of equitable access agree that the internet is no longer a luxury, but instead a utility … like water, gas or electricity. Now, as we finally move forward with updating our internet access, it’s imperative that we make smart investments. That means choosing the internet infrastructure of the future; fiber broadband. Fiber is faster, more reliable and more cost-effective over its lifetime when compared to copper, fixed wireless or satellite. And when it comes to deploying fiber internet, we need to choose a trusted ISP to ensure the project is completed on schedule and within budget.

Stanly County residents have sacrificed enough throughout the pandemic. It’s time for us to turn toward the future and build a stronger, more resilient economy. That can start with making the right choices when it comes to updating our internet and connecting our communities. With local elections just around the corner, you need to ask candidates where they stand on this all too important issue.

Gerald W. Poplin, Ph.D.
N.C. Internet Technology
Strategy Board