Letter to Editor: Internet speed is needed for state’s future

Published 12:35 pm Friday, December 17, 2021

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dear Editor,

If fellow Louisianans were living without water or electricity, we would all be up in arms making sure our neighbors could get those basic modern benefits.

The growth of Louisiana in prosperity and quality of life for its citizens depends on basic connectivity. Presently, Louisiana’s rural communities without Internet have little or no opportunity to excel and grow. These areas will never catch up with the rest of the country in many ways.

Without this connectivity, we will continue to lag behind in education, economic development, medical care or relevance for our state.

Recently, my grandchild told me how great the Beatles documentary “Get Back” is, and how much I would love it. In today’s reality, I can’t share that experience since I can’t stream anything.

On that same day, I interviewed five high school students and asked each about online tutoring opportunities, like Khan Academy. Only one had an Internet capable of viewing that — also a pathetic situation for our kids’ futures.

Rural Louisiana isn’t asking for faster, more reliable, or even cheaper Internet. We are simply asking for Internet. Period.

Our kids want to learn and compete with the rest of the world. Families want to shop online, get medical care online, stream entertainment, pay bills, and maybe even discuss a Beatles documentary.

We have money from various sources to pay for it. We have a State Office of Broadband working to make it happen.

We need Internet providers to show up, install lines and invest in a future for our people. And the sooner, the better.

If you are lucky enough to have Internet at home, remember your rural neighbors who are without it and let your Internet provider know we need their investment in our state. Louisiana’s future depends on it.

State Sen. Beth Mizell