Thinking broadband

Having personally experienced the need for universal, reliable, affordable broadband firsthand, I completely agree with Proposition 1.

When I came to the Upper Valley as an interim pastor eight years ago, I had so many problems with internet service at the parsonage that I searched out the nearest service building for the local provider and left messages on the door pleading for help. Since then, after purchasing a place in a rural area, I’ve had to get by with a $70 a month WiFi contraption that doesn’t provide enough data for streaming.

But these are mere irritations compared to what many have had to face — especially during the pandemic. It must have been horrendous for many — trying to arrange for kids to do their schoolwork, to work remotely, to make a tele-medicine appointment, or to sign up for a COVID vaccination.

Such needs are too important for us to accept service that’s frequently interrupted, priced out of the reach of many, and completely unavailable to others.

While Vermont should do everything possible to improve the situation, what’s needed is a national response! During the Great Depression, America affirmed the principle of universal service — that everyone should have access to communications services. That was the core of the Communications Act of 1934 that established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and assured that telephone service became available everywhere. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 expanded universal service to include affordable high-speed internet access but, clearly, more must be done.

If a depression-stricken country could recognize that access to telephone service had become a basic right and embark on a bold program to deliver it, we can do the same with today — with universal access to the internet! Vermonters should tell their state and national representatives to work together to make it happen.

Steven Gehlert

West Newbury

(1) comment

Veronica Lang

Yes Steven Gehlert, it would be good to have internet coverage everywhere in Vermont however we must be very careful that it is broadband and not 5G. I hope people will do their due diligence and understand the very real dangers of 5G which is now rolled out everywhere without our permission. We don't need it in Vermont. Let's stay healthy here. 5G transmits electromagnetic frequencies (EMF"s) that are very dangerous to biological life including humans, bees, birds and especially young ones. Please do not simply take the perspective that the commercial media dishes out - they have a vested interest. There is much more information available from other findings. I'm happy to direct to it if anyone needs it. Please take care with this subject as it's very important. Broadband is enough and can be available widely without danger to health.

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