Letter – Rural Suffolk needs internet access

Published 11:49 pm Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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To the editor:

On July 16, 2021, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Gov. Ralph Northam announced that Virginia planned to invest $700 million in American Rescue Plan funding to expedite the deployment of last-mile broadband infrastructure to unserved areas and close the digital divide within the next three years. This proposal would accelerate the governor’s 10-year goal for achieving universal internet access from 2028 to 2024.

Living without internet/WiFi in a world that’s built around technology is a difficult task. Living in a rural area, having daughters and working in the school system makes it difficult to complete any work at home. Although we have a phone and can use the hotspot, that’s not consistent. Using the phone means that I will lose service and have to spend time reconnecting several times over. Even enjoying any fun activities or movies is hard. 

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When COVID-19 hit and school was online, my daughter struggled to keep up with schoolwork and assignments because we had no internet. Now that school is back in-person, she is able to keep up with her assignments. Although school is in-person, she still has some homework and having no internet access makes it difficult to complete. 

Working in the school system, having internet access is necessary in order to successfully plan for students to be successful. In some cases, I have had to stay late in order to prepare because I had no internet at home. Now that my daughter is heavily involved in sports, it makes it difficult to stay late. Having internet access at home would help out a lot because I can complete my work at home. 

Having read and now knowing some issues that I and some other people may face without internet access, I’m hoping that Suffolk City Council will consider using the funds that are available for internet access. Allocate these funds properly, give us internet access in rural and other areas and stop letting people, let alone children, struggle like this.

Janekia Williams

Virginia Organizing Chapter member