Opinion » Letters

More efforts needed on the internet problem


Thank you so much for the article on the SLO digital divide ("Getting connected," Dec. 13). I live 4 miles east of 101 in Templeton, and internet access is the No. 1 issue that is of importance to my family. We have struggled with wireless internet after trying satellite, which was totally useless with their data caps. This is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed, at the county and state level. Unfortunately, our representatives don't seem too interested in this issue, even though it is critically important to our children's education, as homework and assignments are based on internet access. The county government spends money on bike paths, county internet access, firehouses, school administration offices, etc., in SLO, but over the grade, we need these basic services, particularly in more rural areas.

While I appreciated the county chief information officer's (CIO) comments, what I expect to see published from a CIO is an internet infrastructure strategic plan, laying out the areas of critical needs for residents who have very limited access.

Our representatives should be fighting to get grants and county dollars for internet in our communities, and fighting hard with the monopolistic telecom companies. Too many lobbying dollars go to fight universal access because it cuts into profits. This needs to change. Why aren't there local surcharges on the large cable and wireless providers to provide rural access? As a former Silicon Valley executive, I find it laughable that we are 4 miles from 101, with a community of close to 10,000 people, and we can't get decent, dependable internet service, no cable service, barely functioning wire lines, and certainly no fiber internet. The internet is an infrastructure issue, just as important as sewer, water, and electric power. As rural residents, we have to spend huge sums of money to supply our own sewer and water, but we can't solve the internet infrastructure problem ourselves.

Jim Voos


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