Many years ago, policy makers realized the critical need for rural America to have access to adequate utilities. Through loan and grant programs administered by REA, RUS and the Department of Agriculture, people in rural areas of our country were provided access to affordable electricity, water and phone services. The concept of Universal Service, as it is known, has been written into our laws. In short, Universal Service is designed to insure that people have affordable access to these necessary life services regardless of whether they live in a big city or rural areas of America. Without such services, rural communities could not survive.
In today’s world, a new utility service is similarly seen as necessary to quality of life, regardless of where you live. Access to affordable broadband service is critical to the growth and survival of rural communities, particularly in rural states like Arkansas. Broadband needs have outgrown the current infrastructure capabilities, particularly in high cost rural areas. Thus, there is a current and immediate need to invest in rural infrastructure that would provide access to affordable high speed broadband in rural areas struggling to survive.
Various applications are driving bandwidth growth, not the least of which is streaming video from Netflex, Hulu, You Tube and others, which consume huge amounts of bandwidth. But other necessary applications are also relevant. Precision agriculture is an increasingly popular and necessary application for our farmers and ranchers, and some of the latest agri- technology requires as much as 200 MBPS downstream. In education, access to high speed broadband is critical to high school and college students for doing research and completing assignments, requiring faster speeds than currently available in many rural communities. Rural healthcare is now a reality, with the capability of changing the way we deliver healthcare in much of the country, but cannot be accomplished without both high speed download and upload capabilities. These are just a few of the areas of application necessary in rural areas to maintain and grow quality of life.
If rural communities are going to experience sufficient economic growth, high speed broadband will be a necessity. In today’s economy, businesses require high speed broadband to exist and compete. Any rural community without access to such services will not be able to attract or recruit new businesses to its area. It is in all of our best interests that rural communities grow and prosper.
Thanks to the concept of Universal Service, and policies which implement that concept in real life, our rural communities have been the backbone of this country for many years. Now these communities need access to affordable broadband to continue to serve all of us. At Pinnacle Communications, we recognize this need and have built a state of the art network providing fiber to the home to all of our rural customers. We will continue to invest in rural Arkansas and Oklahoma to insure that our customers have the quality of life they deserve, a quality of life they can attain with access to high speed broadband and all it brings with it.