Don’t break the Internet before rural gets it

This is a post from Whitney Kimball Coe,  coordinator of the National Rural Assembly and director of national programs for the Center for Rural Strategies. Rural Strategies also publishes the Daily Yonder.


One of my all-time, favorite quotes originated in the Daily Yonder back in 2014. My then-coworker, Edyael Casaperalta, submitted an exquisite and courageous Speak Your Piece, making the case to the Federal Communications Commission in support of net neutrality and rural broadband connectivity. It was called, “Life in the Slow Lane,” and the best quote of all time became a rallying cry for the National Rural Assembly’s Broadband Policy Group:

“Don’t break the Internet before rural gets it.”

I don’t know if this editorial sealed the deal for the FCC back in 2014, but by 2015, they’d reclassified broadband as a Title II public utility, like telephone and electric service, and the 23 million people without internet access were just a little bit closer to enfranchisement.

Fast-forward to November 2017, and we’re back at square one with the FCC. In the next few weeks, Chairman Ajit Pai is expected to outline what the repeal of the 2015 Title II reclassification will look like.

The Daily Yonder will no doubt offer the kind of analyses and critiques rural advocates will need to stay on top of this issue. More importantly, though, I know we can count on the Yonder to bring voices like Edyael’s back to the party.

It’s voices like hers, from small rural towns, reservations, parishes, and hollers across the country that give us clarity and courage as we work toward closing divides and achieving equity for marginalized communities.  


For more information on the current net neutrality battle:


 

For the past 10 years, the National Rural Assembly has relied upon the Daily Yonder for content, data, and genuine rural voices to help us make sense of who we are and what matters most for rural futures. I hope you’ll join me in supporting the Daily Yonder this year, so the information continues to flow to the people who need it most.

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