21st Century Equivalent of the REA

 

Dear Reader,

In the late 1930s, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act, or REA, into law. The idea was simple — every farm, every ranch, every rural town and all the people in it should have access to reliable, affordable electricity. Electricity should be universal.

The REA lit up the country. It changed our economy not just in the installation, but in creating the opportunity for immense economic growth.

Expanding rural broadband is the REA of the 21st century.

You cannot participate in the economy without access to the Internet. Yet in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and areas nearby, there is little access to the Internet. Connections are slow, if they even exist.

It’s time we expand access to affordable, quality broadband to every farmer, every small business, and every resident that doesn’t have it. Like the REA, it could improve our economy and create the opportunity for economic growth.

If we’re going to build a 21st-century economy and a 21st-century middle class, we need to take a page from FDR’s playbook and expand rural broadband to everyone. Help me build a grassroots movement supporting expansion of rural broadband — click here and sign on.

The first step to get there is going to be the federal government establishing that, as a principle, EVERY farm, home, and business deserves high speed broadband. There are deep solutions to help make this a principle — and one stems for stopping monopolies in telecommunications companies, such as Verizon and Comcast.

Even in well-connected areas, there is little-to-no competition when it comes to Internet providers. Without competition, customers and workers have nowhere else to go — and no leverage to press companies for better service and contracts.

We need to work to fix the problem, not make it worse. We need to encourage local competition, and not allow mergers that will let Verizon and other telecommunication companies monopolize the market.

If we take these and other steps, and invest in expanding rural broadband infrastructure, we can expand broadband to every farm house and every rural small business.

It’s hard to have your voice heard if you’re a rural farmer or business with no Internet access. I’m here to raise their voices too — and today, you can join me. Sign on to support universal broadband access.

Thanks!

-Z

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