At Louisa County High School on Aug. 17, I listened to our Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and three experts talk about the problems rural Virginia has with access to broadband internet. I also listened to Louisa residents talk about the problems they face (poor connectivity, long delays, lack of access) and the consequences of these problems (can’t work at home, moving out of Louisa, disadvantaged children, lack of competitiveness in attracting businesses and others).
Where were our board of supervisor members? Who knows! They were not there to listen to their constituents. When a citizen asked about their absence, another constituent yelled, “They don’t care.” This got some applause.
The following Tuesday I had occasion to talk to a member of the Louisa County Broadband Authority and asked how things were going. The response came as no shock. I was told the board of supervisors never wanted the broadband authority to succeed.
It’s been six long years since the authority started its work. How many residents are being served? According to the authority’s minutes, it’s around 20.
Are all the authorized towers installed yet? No. Why not? One reason was a 35 percent increase in the price of steel caused by the federal government-imposed trade war with China.
Did the supervisors take that into consideration? No. As the current chair of the board stated, the authority had to work with the money authorized. If that meant cutting back on coverage, too bad—so sad.
Is this the government we want?
Do we want to cripple our children and grandchildren due to lack of access to all the benefits of modern technology? Do we want them destined to a work life of lower opportunity because they didn’t have the same internet access as their competitors in other counties?
We can no longer sit back and wait for our supposed leaders to do their jobs. You want a better life for you and your children? Show up at the board meetings and demand action. Vote out any supervisor that waffles and delays implementation of the authority’s plan. They are the decision makers—it’s on them to make this happen. Failure is on them as well.
Editor’s Note: this originally appeared in the August 29th edition of the Central Virginian and has been reposted here with the authors permission.
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