Pres. Obama pushes for high-speed Internet in rural America

President Obama was in Iowa Wednesday talking about his plan to bring high-speed Internet to rural America.

The president wants everyone in the country to have access to broadband Internet. He said this isn’t about just having fast internet for us to see more things on Facebook, better Internet access could ultimately help the economy.

Lemonweir Valley Telcom is a small, independent company providing Internet to the residents in Camp Douglas and New Lisbon. The company’s CEO, James Costello, said the president’s idea is a good one.

It may be hard to believe, but Camp Douglas and New Lisbon, in rural Wisconsin, have a faster Internet connection than Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago because Lemonweir offers a one-gigabyte broadband network to its customers.

“I would say there’s approximately around 10 areas that I know have committed and made announcements to a gigabyte. Several of those, by the way, are in our area,” Costello said.

A one-gigabyte network is 100 times faster than the national average.

“Today, high-speed broadband is not a luxury, it’s a necessity,” Obama said Wednesday in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

President Obama said by offering broadband Internet to rural Americans, it gives small, local businesses the chance to compete in a global market. And the folks at Lemonweir agree.

“We really think that the dairy farms and the cranberry growers and the other companies out in rural America, they’re competing on global markets, they need this connectivity just as much as any company or any individual within a metro or urban area. They’re going to need that in order to compete,” Costello said.

Costello said when a business is looking for a place to build, the internet connection is important. And by offering high-speed Internet in rural areas, businesses are going to be attracted to places like New Lisbon and Camp Douglas.

“You know, rural is our heartbeat, so it’s important that we have what we think our world’s going to need to survive,” Costello said.

Obama also wants to eliminate state laws blocking cities from creating their own networks. There are currently 19 states with this type of law.