Working at home is a full-time proposition for farmers. But, while it’s a common practice for some non-farm rural folks, there are many who are getting their first tastes of working remotely from their home offices.
The coronavirus pandemic has done well in pointing out some shortcomings in our nation’s systems, and that shortcoming includes pointing out the importance of all rural people having access to high-speed internet.
Some people are fortunate in that regard. An example is the vast majority of Tri-County Communications Cooperative members in Trempealeau County, where a second generation of fiber optic transmission lines provides high-speed services to most of those members. There even are a handful of customers in that area that don’t have access to the service, though.
Plenty of people are far less fortunate. They’re out of reach of even the most basic internet lines; some of those areas even can’t be reached by cell-tower signals that might be able to connect to the internet.
We’ve often heard loudly and clearly from some of those without adequate internet services.
This period of social isolation caused by the pandemic is introducing the countryside to the many possibilities of working remotely, in home offices great distances from employment bases. It would introduce many more people to those possibilities if all had the proper internet access.
Though high speed internet access for all in rural areas is needed as you read this, now isn’t necessarily the time to shout too loudly about such a matter; now is the time to work on matters of slowing and hopefully stopping the pandemic. But it’s an issue about which people can make note about and push forward after the coronavirus threat has subsided.