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ID Internet Speeds Could Rise with Broadband Reclassification

PHOTO: Internet connection speeds in Idaho could rise if service is reclassified, similar to basic phone service, as requested by President Obama. Photo credit: stevepb/Pixabay
PHOTO: Internet connection speeds in Idaho could rise if service is reclassified, similar to basic phone service, as requested by President Obama. Photo credit: stevepb/Pixabay
December 12, 2014

BOISE, Idaho - "A big win for rural communities." That's how the National Rural Assembly views President Obama's endorsement of treating broadband service the same as telephone service.

Edyael Casaperalta, who coordinates a national coalition of groups advocating for those who live in rural areas, said Obama's call for the Federal Communications Commission to reclassify broadband similar to telephone service under the Telecommunications Act not only protects an open Internet, but "also begins a conversation about how do we bring high-speed, affordable, quality Internet to rural areas? Because that is what we have done before, with telephone."

Internet connection speeds in Idaho rank among the slowest in the nation, according to speedmatters.org.

The idea of reclassification is not supported by U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, who has called it a "misguided scheme to regulate the Internet."

Casaperalta said regulating broadband like basic telephone service by classifying it a Title II service should not be a partisan issue.

"It should be about how do we collectively work together to improve the information and communications infrastructure of our country," she said, "because it benefits us all, right?"

According to the Rural Broadband Policy Group of the National Rural Assembly, of the 19 million Americans who don't have Internet access, more than 14 million live in rural areas.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - ID