Expanding broadband is economic necessity

By: Justin Neppl
Media Daily News

The Southern Valley Economic Development Authority is dedicated to creating and maintaining a thriving business climate for Richland and Wilkin counties. Attracting new businesses and providing tools for existing businesses to expand and prosper is our primary focus.

We all know basic infrastructure is key to economic development. And today, broadband is very much a part of that infrastructure. Fortunately many residents of Richland and Wilkin have quality broadband. There are too many rural areas where coverage is not what it needs to be. A county-by-county assessment of broadband coverage in the U.S. finds both Richland and Wilkin behind neighboring counties in terms of total broadband coverage. This is unacceptable and needs to be remedied.

Historically, businesses and towns settled in areas that provided the easiest avenues to transport goods — first along rivers and coasts, then along railroads and later interstate highways. Today and well into the future, businesses will be built around invisible lines of connectivity.

For the Southern Valley to meet its full economic potential, it is imperative broadband coverage is reliable and extensive. Connect Americans Now is working to end the rural digital divide by advocating the use of TV white space to carry broadband signals. CAN is specifically asking Federal Communications Commission to ensure sufficient spectrum is available for wireless use on an unlicensed basis in every market throughout the country. TV white space is an existing technology and far more reliable and cost effective than fiber or dial-up.

As SVEDA director, I’m pleased to join other economic development directors across the nation in support of CAN’s common sense solution. I encourage North Dakota’s Sen. Hoeven and Sen. Heitkamp and Congressman Cramer to advocate for this change. Expanding broadband coverage as much as possible in rural America is a game-changer that will level the playing field for businesses, improving our counties’ competitive position and quality of life. Yes, it’s that important and necessary.


Join our fight to bring broadband to all rural Americans. Tell Washington to take action to bridge the digital divide now!