I live outside of Wahoo, and I am unable to receive any internet service other than DSL, with a current speed of 0.5 Mbps — and that service continues to decline. We have a small farm operation of sheep and wool and added value products. With sales venues now limited to online, I cannot conduct business, and I cannot depend on the internet for personal use.
I try to work during times of the day when the demand seems lower, but that is no longer effective. If I cannot find a solution soon, I will be forced to shut down my business. Many of my neighbors experience the same.
In 1862, Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, “with intentions to ‘elevate the condition of men’ … and give them ‘a fair chance in the race of life.'” In 1936, Nebraska Congressman George Norris introduced the Rural Electrification Act, believing access to electricity would revolutionize the rural way of life and “give rural America a ‘fair chance.’”
Today, the increase in internet demand due to COVID-19 is affecting service in my community. I’m so glad I don’t have kids who must rely on the internet for education right now. Compared to that, the loss of my business is insignificant, but we need help. That may be federal CARES money, but the funding must come from somewhere.
Helen Raikes, independent candidate for Nebraska Legislative District 23, understands the situation and will work to make sure all have access to high-speed internet. Rural Nebraska is essential to our state and nation, and it deserves a fair chance.