The internet has shattered traditional models of education. What once took years of college course work to master can now be learned in a few afternoons on YouTube. Today, sites like Udemy and Skillshare offer affordable classes in everything from astrophysics to graphic design. It’s never been easier for individuals to invest in improving themselves and their communities.
The only thing required to access this new world of on-demand learning is a high-speed broadband connection. Unfortunately, that’s something too many Montanans lack. Broadbandnow.com rates our state 48th- third from the bottom- in terms of connectivity and the Federal Communications Commission reports that nearly 50 percent of Montanans don’t have access to a basic 25 MB connection.
That’s why I support current legislation to help boost business investment in high-speed fiber technologies. SB 239 would create a sustained incentive for internet providers to expand their digital networks by offering a five-year break on property taxes for new broadband investment.
However, unlike other tax breaks these companies will be required to plow their tax savings back into new infrastructure to serve customers.
Harnessing the economic potential of each citizen in our state requires better broadband, which SB 239 provides. Governor Bullock should support individuals who are taking steps to better themselves by signing this important bill into law.
Kyle Mack, Belgrade