Elsey: Pandemic May Lead To Better Connectivity For Rural Washington

It’s been hard for many in the farming community to find positives about 2020. But Bre Elsey with the Washington Farm Bureau said the pandemic and subsequent shutdown has demonstrated to many in Olympia the broadband inequities that exist for rural communities across the Evergreen State. And she acknowledge while it’s difficult now, she is confident there will be improvements at the end of this.

“Where we have better connectivity in the end.  But it’s also a little daunting to think, what’s it going to take, to fix this is such a rapid fashion and what are the dollars going to look like?

The Washington Farm Bureau and a variety of other organizations have pushed for better rural broadband connectivity to run the latest farm equipment, to allow rural communities to conduct international business, or even allow for remote testimony during the legislative session. Elsey said now that the lack of broadband infrastructure impacts those outside of small communities she’s hopeful meaningful progress will be made.

“Before, you had a lot of folks in rural Washington saying ‘we really need this’, and overnight it became a school issue and a business issue.  So, I do find the silver lining as well it’s just having a lot more partners at the table then there were previously and I think that will benefit everybody.”

Elsey added it’s important that now and into the start of the 2021 legislative session, farmers communicate with their representation about the importance of reliable, high speed internet service.

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