Rural Americans long to be linked
June 8, 2009
By Leslie Cauley
The local phone company,
Roper currently uses ERF Wireless, which provides service in more remote areas. He says the service, which costs $40 a month for a 1.5-megabit connection, is pretty good, though it sometimes goes down for days at a time.
To help run his 2,400-acre farm, he spent $65,000 on equipment for a satellite-based GPS service for his tractors, useful for navigation in the field. Broadband, handy for a variety of diagnostic and operational purposes such as irrigation and real-time weather monitoring, isn't available — so Roper and other farmers in this West
Rural folks aren't prone to complain, Roper says. They work hard, love their communities and wouldn't think of living anywhere else. But that doesn't mean they don't want, and need, to be connected to the outside world.
"Just because we live in rural America doesn't mean we shouldn't have broadband," says Roper, a third-generation peanut farmer. "We're all Americans. We shouldn't be treated less than anyone else."