Mozilla’s All Access Pass with Veronica Belmont explores local broadband initiatives in episode 6. She sends reporter Dominic Girard to speak with folks in Renville and Sibley County, Minnesota, to discuss the RS Fiber Cooperative.
Girard talks with Mark Erickson who spearheaded the project and describes how difficult is was for farmers who needed better connectivity for 21st century agriculture. Jake Rieke, a local farmer, shares the concerns he described with us in episode 198 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast - how awful Internet access could negatively impact his family’s future.
The crew also interviews Angela Siefer from the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) who describes the local desires to invest in better connectivity but state barriers that often interrupt those efforts. Angela gets into the ripples those barriers and access to the Internet interrupts the ability for women, people of color, lower-income folks, and the LGBTQ community to participate in civic engagement.
The show also ventures to the way a group of entrepreneurs are using the Internet to help Syrian refugees adjust to a new life. Their program has changed people from refugees to coders sought out by tech companies.
The show examines how access to the Internet - or lack of it - has become a factor that impacts one's life for the better or worse.
Listen to episode 6 of All Access Pass here.
Learn more about the RS Fiber Cooperative from our 2016 indepth report RS Fiber: Fertile Fields for New Rural Internet Cooperative.