DRN ReadiTech and Other North Dakota Broadband Providers are Leading the Way in Bridging the Digital Divide

  • Date: January 28, 2020
  • Author: Kent Schimke, General Manager/CEO

Today there are nearly 4.5 billion people on the Internet. For most of us, the Internet is not a luxury, but a necessity to work and live. We are more connected than ever before with surveillance cameras, interactive websites, business, and home automation and more.

According to Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, the digital divide affects people in many rural communities. To help eliminate the digital divide, the FCC recently proposed the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) intended to bring six million rural homes in 48 states high-speed broadband. The Committee will vote later in January 2020 on if the fund will be adopted

I’m happy to report, in a preliminary list from the FCC, only 5,000 homes or businesses in North Dakota qualify as underserved in their broadband connection. We hear a lot about the digital divide, however, locally-owned broadband providers, like DRN ReadiTech have already stepped up with investments to offer fiber-optic service providing the fastest internet speeds to the areas we serve.  Oftentimes, our friends and families living in the nation’s largest cities, do not receive the quality, speed, and reliability of the broadband we’ve come to expect in the DRN ReadiTech service territory. I’m excited to be at the forefront supporting the businesses and homes in our region with one-gigabit Internet speeds and soon up to 10 Gbps bandwidth.

California and Texas will benefit the most from the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund providing rural areas access to high-speed Internet. California has the most rural locations without broadband access with 421,000 and Texas follows with 381,000 locations. Other states that are expected to have more than 200,000 eligible locations are Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Your cooperative has shown its commitment by investing in our communities and being one of the first internet providers in N.D. in 2012 to offer 100% fiber-to-the-home service within our service area. Today, as internet usage continues to grow, and more and more devices connect, we are still committed to investing in our network infrastructure to ensure DRN ReadiTech provides the fastest Internet speeds you’ve learned to rely on.