Half of Virginians Lack Economic and Educational Safety - And Here's Why

I live in Virginia.  It is a wealthy state.  It is disproportionately well educated. It is politically influential.  Its potential is unlimited.

And yet half of Virginia citizens are discriminated against, and politicians seem to have no interest in remedying the problem.  This is the reason citizens are mad today.  They feel that politicians just can’t be bothered.  And they are right.

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Two things became clear in the statewide broadband demand survey released this week by the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology.  First, 23% of Virginia homes are not served by fixed Internet service. 

Second, half of Virginians are relying upon technologies that are too expensive and/or too slow to support critical applications such as teleworking, health information technologies, distance learning and the like.

Thus 50% of Virginians are effectively being discriminated against.  They lack educational and economic safety.  Read the report yourself:

https://www.wired.virginia.gov/sites/default/files/RUOnline Virginia 2016 Report.pdf

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I have some friends who live on a farm in the Virginia countryside.  They live a block from a local elementary school.  Thanks to the FCC’s Schools and Libraries support program, the local telephone company has delivered high speed internet access fiber to that school. However the telephone company has told my friends that to extend that capacity to them will cost $1,000 a month.  The local telephone company is simply uninterested in providing service to them. 

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The mantra that has been adopted by the Republican party (and now by part of the Democratic party) over the last 20 years is that government is the problem; that it has no legitimate role other than lowering taxes.  This idea is by no means central to Republican or Democratic values.

This idea is wrong.  It is ahistorical.  It runs counter to the ideas that built this country.

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We didn’t build roads only for those that are wealthy enough to pay for them. We built them for all Americans.  That resource in turn gave Americans the greatest ability to make do for themselves. The same is true of education, electricity, airports, trash refuse systems, water purification, law enforcement, sewer systems and the like. Look around your own life and you can easily spot aspects of your environment that are important to you that would not exist but for the role of government. 

Government has a proper role, and when you hear or read that government is only a problem, don’t suspend disbelief. 

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Under our system Government is "by the people."  As such it is imperfect.  Always in the need of being improved upon.  By the way, the same is true for every business.  Every businessperson knows that every business is inefficient and always on the brink of underperforming, if not outright failing.  Businesses stay afloat only because of daily herculean efforts by ordinary people. Efforts by people like you.  And your neighbors. Imperfection does not equate to failure or uselessness. It reflects the human condition. 

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Virginians should have access to the Internet.  If business cannot find a way for that to happen, our politicians should.