Mayor of Red Oak shares struggle for high-speed internet: 'We are losing people residing in our community'

Mayor of Red Oak shares struggle for high-speed internet: ‘We are losing people residing in our community’

RED OAK, Iowa. (KMTV) – – The need to get online is greater than ever, but the White House reports that more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no proper broadband connection.

Why is it so difficult for rural areas to access it?

In Red Oak, a charming community of more than 5,000 residents, Mayor Shawnna Silvius recognizes its potential for remote workers interested in a slower pace of life. Since 2017, she has been working to make the city connected.

“Educating people about the different types of connectivity, educating people about why it matters; when it was before COVID. COVID has really opened people’s eyes to the impact of bandwidth capacity,” said Sylvius.

The city has broadband service, but here are the biggest issues it faces: Many potential residents are considering moving to Red Oak, and those currently there, as fiber internet is delivered at their home. The key is to make sure the service is affordable.

“And if we had that kind of dedicated service, so they could work from home and do whatever job from the country, that would really take off, I think,” said Joey Norris, owner of the Red Oak company. .

To complete Red Oak connectivity, local business owner Joey Norris said it would cost between $10 million and $15 million. The mayor says there are nearly 3,000 homes left to connect.

“As far as I would say now, for our entire community to be served, we’re probably looking at three years,” Silvius said.

This is a harsh reality for a forward-thinking leader; understand the brain drain will continue unless something changes.

“We are losing businesses. We are losing people residing in our community. For people to reclaim that and grow, we have to,” Silvius said.

The USDA also announced that the department is providing more than $500 million in loans and grants to bring high-speed Internet to rural areas and businesses in 20 states.

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