Policymakers meet in Cedar Rapids to discuss broadband

Northfield News* reports…

U.S. Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Dubuque, and Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Aug. 5 led a 10-person roundtable that included representatives from state internet service providers, health care and education groups at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.

Earlier that morning, Finkenauer and Rosenworcel visited farmers and producers in Dyersville who use precision agriculture technologies that rely on broadband service.

One roundtable participant was Duane Willhite, superintendent of North Fayette Valley Community Schools, in northeast Iowa, who represented the Rural School Advocates of Iowa lobbying group.

Willhite said each student in grades 7-12 receives a laptop and several must stay late at school or go to local businesses to use them for online classes because of a lack of broadband access at home.

Expanding rural broadband is “vital,” Willhite said, “because our students are taking computers home and if they don’t have connections, they can’t do the homework and things like that. We really want everybody online to get the best education they can.”

Dave Duncan, chief executive officer of the Iowa Communications Alliance trade group, said broadband is at the “forefront” of multiple policy issues, and money can prove to be a challenge in expanding service.

“It boils down to making a business case to serving those customers who don’t have it yet,” he said. “The easy and cheap people have already been hooked up.”

*I think it was Northfield – but because I can in Ireland right now, I can’t view most of the local newspapers. Here’s the response I get when I try:

451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, contact chjellming@northfieldnews.com or call 507-333-3111.

I just thought this was interesting enough to mention. I assume this tracks back to stricter privacy laws here but it seems strange in a time when you think we’d like to see greater access to new worldwide.

This entry was posted in Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

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