Letters to the Editor

High-speed access essential

Years ago, our grandparents created public utility districts when private corporations would not provide electricity to the rural communities in the Mid-Columbia. The economic prosperity that ensued has transformed our region into a thriving commercial and agricultural center for Washington state.

It's unfortunate that 70 years later, the same discredited arguments used to fight public power are resurfacing to undermine publicly owned broadband in Benton and Franklin counties.

High-speed broadband is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity -- for businesses looking to expand and create jobs and communities looking for access to better health care and education. Quite simply, broadband is an essential asset for economic growth and innovation just like electricity and roads were for previous generations.

Frankly, the reason we built broadband is because private telecommunications companies would not make the initial investment necessary to provide the services needed in our communities.

PUDs provide open-access, wholesale broadband to retail service providers who deliver services to homes and businesses at a reasonable, competitive cost. Benton and Franklin PUD's investment in high-speed broadband infrastructure has enabled better healthcare, reduced government costs, enhanced educational opportunities, and improved public safety. Our wholesale broadband has generated local jobs, expanded economic development opportunities and helped businesses be competitive in the global market.

JIM SANDERS, Manager, Benton PUD

ED BROST, Manager, Franklin PUD

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