NRECA CEO Jim Matheson is urging policymakers, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, and key stakeholders to include electric cooperatives and their members in the quest to address the “uneven landscape” created by a lack of broadband internet access in rural America.
“NRECA is a group health care plan provider, and we cover people in rural places where health care providers gather at the McDonald’s parking lot to upload and download radiology images and diagnoses because they aren’t connected in their offices or where they provide home health care,” Matheson told the audience at the first e-Connectivity Forum in Washington on April 18.
“NRECA sponsors a telemedicine program that can bring a consultation right into a home, but it doesn’t work best unless it’s broadband-enabled,” he said.
“And that’s the situation in far too many communities. Existing programs for expanding high-speed internet access are falling short of meeting the needs of rural America.”
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