VAN BUREN COUNTY IS BEING LEFT BEHIND
Internet means more than watching cat videos. It means access to an economy that is becoming increasingly digital. Every home and business should have affordable access to high speed internet yet today almost 30% of households in Van Buren County are being left behind. That’s worse than any neighboring county. Tax breaks for companies like AT&T ($160 billion in revenue last year) and Comcast ($84 billion) might help boost their bottom line but do little to actually solve the core problem of rural broadband.
Yet that’s all Rep. Griffin has offered us (or rather them). Rural communities are passed over because of their lower population density. For a telecom company running miles of fiber to serve a handful of families isn’t profitable enough for them to invest in. That’s why we need policy that helps change that equation. A great starting point is the Michigan Farm Bureau and their policy positions on the issue:
1. Allowing municipalities to utilize special assessment districts in expanding broadband.
2. Public-private partnerships to develop cooperative, alternative funding measures to expand broadband in under-served areas.
We need strategic legislation to allow for real development of rural networks not just protecting corporate profits and that means empowering local communities.