Saturday, November 27, 2021


Don't want the hassles of Black Friday - consider a refurbished gift this year; day after Thanksgiving travel could be messy - and supporters regroup for recreational marijuana in South Dakota.


Big retailers predict an historic holiday shopping season, but small businesses are not sharing that optimism, and economists weigh in on what s behind the nation's labor shortages.


South Dakota foster kids find homes with Native families; a conservative group wants oil and gas reform; rural Pennsylvania residents object to planes flying above tree tops; and poetry debuts to celebrate the land.

Rural Oregon Looks to FCC Vote on Open Internet


Monday, February 23, 2015   

LAKEVIEW, Ore. - The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to classify the Internet as a public utility, allowing it to be more closely regulated to ensure fairness, or what is known as "net neutrality." But smaller Internet service providers are asking to be exempted if that happens.

In Oregon, rural towns like Lakeview are served by small companies that only provide Internet service, not phone or cable.

Tommie Dodd manages Tnet Broadband Internet, an ISP in Lake County with about 800 customers. Dodd says he's worried an FCC decision could mean more paperwork and expensive upgrades.

"We really don't know what the bottom line will be," Dodd says. "The American Cable Association, just in the last few days, has asked them to waive the rules for smaller ISPs but right now they include everything."

Dodd says he understands the appeal of faster Internet service, but notes it's more expensive to get fiber optic technology to remote areas, and the big providers haven't been interested. He also belongs to the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, which sent a letter this month to the FCC asking to exempt small providers that offer only broadband services.

Elsewhere across the country, supporters of the change held weekend rallies for a free and open Internet. Their concern is that without closer FCC regulation, the big Internet providers will continue to push for a tiered system that allows them to charge more money for faster speeds, which could compromise online access for those who can't afford it.

Dodd says rural companies like his can't afford to work that way, and they want the FCC to acknowledge it.

"In rural areas we do our job," he says. "We don't restrict anybody, we don't slow anything down. If somebody calls in and claims they're not getting their speed, we hop on it. What are they going to add to the conversation?"

Internet service in Oregon varies widely, and there are about 14 million rural Americans with no online access. Reclassifying the Internet as a utility might make serving them a bigger priority.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and President Barack Obama have both indicated they support the change.

get more stories like this via email

Vicki Harder-Thorne is honoring 30 years of sweat equity her parents put into restoring 80 acres of land in Ottawa County. (Harder-Thorne)


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Succession is an inevitable process for Ohio farmers, and it can also be an opportunity to re-imagine the land. Vicki Harder-…


HELENA, Mont. -- To honor the Biden administration's steps toward greater ties with tribal nations, conservation groups are calling on it to list the …

Social Issues

PIERRE, S.D. -- Supporters of establishing recreational marijuana in South Dakota say they're pouring all their energy into a new ballot initiative…

Farming is Virginia's largest private industry, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. (Adobe Stock)


RICHMOND, Va. -- In central Virginia, permanent access to land is one of the biggest barriers to farming. A new land-trust model aims to secure both …

Social Issues

DETROIT -- As cold weather moves in, state agencies are working to make sure Michiganders know how to apply for the Michigan Energy Assistance …

Paige Bethmann and Ku Stevens speak in between interviews at his house on the Yerington Paiute Reservation in Nevada. (Zack Kiszka)

Social Issues

NEW YORK -- A team of New York-based filmmakers is producing a documentary about reclaiming Indigenous heritage, told through the experiences of an 18…

Social Issues

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A new report ranks Maryland as one of the worst states in providing support for young victims of sex trafficking. While Maryland …


CASS LAKE, Minn. - Minnesota boat owners have stored their watercraft for the winter. But in the coming weeks, some lakes will be getting new …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021