Being thankful for broadband in 2020

NTA Rural ConnectionsWhen you’re making your list of things to be thankful for this season, make room for this: “access to broadband from a reliable, community-based provider.” This year has taught us many things, one being that broadband is vital to so many areas of our lives — work, school, health and more.

I recently spoke with a journalist who has been covering the gaps in broadband connectivity across our country. She lives in a beautiful community in the mountains of Vermont and is lucky to be able to download emails — forget anything like streaming or VPN access. She has learned from working with NTCA and some of our members that building broadband is not a cheap proposition. There are physical hurdles (Vermont mountains?) that make the task even more formidable.

Several months into a remote world, her office is closed and her options for connectivity are limited. She joins the ranks of local school kids in nearby fast food parking lots trying to complete their homework while she tries to upload her stories. In the most prosperous country in the world, in 2020, she has realized the hard way that having a broadband connection has become a lifeline and a necessity — and that speed and capacity actually do matter.

If you are holding this magazine, you are served by a community-based