To the Editor:

On Saturday I attended the 2019 Rural Broadband Summit sponsored by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. The summit drew a large crowd from Louisa, Goochland and Orange counties. 

In the opening session I heard a range of questions and comments from concerned parents, small business owners, local farmers and residents trying to telecommute. There was also valuable information provided by the panelists on programs and grants that are available to help expand broadband in rural areas such as Louisa County.

Unfortunately, what I did not see was any member of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors or any member of the county’s broadband authority. Several members of the audience asked questions regarding the board’s efforts (or lack thereof) to expand broadband, but there was no one there to respond.  

No one to discuss the status of the broadband towers we have been waiting for. No one to explain why county residents must pay two or three times what non-rural Virginians pay for slower, less efficient broadband.

This should not be a partisan issue. One audience member mentioned a bill sponsored by Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA) that would provide some funding for rural broadband. Rep. Spanberger immediately agreed to cosponsor the bill. Broadband access should be an issue with bipartisan support.

Mark Itzkoff