In a guest opinion piece in the Lincoln Journal Star, Niel Ritchie, CEO of Main Street Project and Past Director of the League of Rural Voters, says…
In rural America, however, effective net neutrality means much more.
Most fundamentally, net neutrality policies must also accelerate the deployment and build-out of new high speed networks to rural areas. A neutral internet doesn’t mean much if you don’t have network access in the first place; in Nebraska, more than 270,000 people have no options for wired, high-speed broadband, according to Broadband Now.
This is a key issue often overlooked in the debate. Policies that slow down the national effort to connect rural areas actually set net neutrality back. That may not be obvious in connected meccas like Silicon Valley or Washington, but it’s painfully true on the ground in places like Logan County, where access is spotty and incomplete.
And this is how the current debate in Congress over competing net neutrality proposals so frequently misses the point.