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The Air Waves Belong To the Citizens

January 29, 2019
Emmetsburg News

To the Editor,

Would like to respond to the recent news article in your paper titled: "Broadband Initiative Ignores Major Barrier."

Although we've been in the telecommunications business 35 years, in 2014 we decided to start up a wireless Internet business here in Emmetsburg. We're starting our 4th year with the goal of providing another quality option for city and farm families to choose from within a 10-mile radius.

Your article referred to rural communities increasingly depending on high speed internet. I agree. There are multitudes of WiFi devices in the home and offices today, including washer-dryers, refrigerators, lighting, heating, cooling. We have a high number of customers who work from home, depending on a quality Internet connection.

That said, the biggest hurdle we face is the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). They control what frequencies we can transmit on. The FCC has turned into a money maker for the US Federal Treasury. In order to obtain more 'space' to transmit on, they have severely limited our capability to increase capacity and speeds. Think of it as comparing a straw to a firehose. Larger the pipe, the ability to increase throughput. The FCC 'auctions' off these frequencies and the mega cell phone carriers with the deep pockets, plenty of cash easily outbid small, rural Internet providers.

Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T are beholding to stock holders. These providers are focused in investing in larger metro cities, not small, rural communities. 5G (G-'generation) is the new buzz word and provides for faster speeds and have the 'fire hose' capacity because they paid the FCC millions of dollars for the 5G frequency spectrum. They pretty much bared us from allowing us to expand from the 'straw to the firehose' and gave it to the big cell phone companies focused on fast return on their investment. What did the FCC do for rural communities? Not a darn thing.

Truth be known these large cell phone companies are in the cell phone business, but not really. They are in the business selling of data plans but need the cell phone to do it. These large, nationwide carriers charge you monthly for the amount of 'data' you use. Most hope you go over your data limit and add on high cost penalties to force you into paying more per month.

At STT Rural Net we do not have a 'data cap' (use as much as you like/need).

The air waves belong to the citizens. FCC's job is to manage it. Unfortunately, the Auctions held by the FCC to allow more bandwidth space is financially out of reach for those of us who invested our own money to reach out and help rural farm families, businesses and city residents. We'll continue to fight for you. We have other ways available to use non-licensed spectrum that keeps the FCC at arm's length.


(signed) Mike Scott, Owner

Emmetsburg, IA



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