Published by MY Northwest on May 28, 2019
By Dyer Oxley
There are places in Washington, even in 2019, where rural broadband doesn’t exist – or even a solid phone connection.
That was evident when KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross attempted to call Congressman Derek Kilmer in rural Mason County. Eventually, the call got through.
“Unfortunately, there are large parts of rural Washington and rural America that don’t have access to high-speed internet,” Kilmer said. “That is, in the 21st Century, an enormous problem.”
This gets beyond whether you can watch the season finale of Game of Thrones on your iPad,” he said. “This gets at – do you have economic opportunity? Do you have educational opportunity? Can you start a new business? If you are looking for a job, can you post your resume? If you’re a student, can you do research?”
Kilmer represents Washington’s 6th Congressional District, which covers much of the Olympic Peninsula and Kitsap County. Despite being a few miles from the big cities in King County, with tech giants of Microsoft and Amazon among others, Kilmer’s district is in the bottom 20 percent of the country when it comes to access to high speed internet.
That’s why he was out in rural Mason County, where the connection was troublesome. He was looking into ways to fix the rural broadband gap. State officials are aware of the problem and its influence on the economy.
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