CONTACT: Allison Kubacki
Technology Key to Communication, Health Care, Education
Madison, WI – As Wisconsin honor our brave service members this Veterans Day, the state’s Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA) is calling for expanded broadband Internet access that will help military families stay connected with loved ones who are serving the nation around the world.
With recent deployments, many Wisconsin families without a home broadband connection are faced with a barrier to communicating face-to-face with their loved ones serving in the military.
“One of the often overlooked costs of lacking broadband availability is the inability of our troops to see and interact with their families in real-time using video chat. In some rural parts of the state that is simply not an option,” said John Skillrud, SFC U.S. Army Reserve, retired.
Without high-speed Internet at home, sending digital videos or pictures of children’s birthdays, soccer games, or other events is virtually impossible. Lack of access also hinders families’ ability to share important developing information. Wisconsin ranks 45th among all states in broadband access, according to the National Broadband Map.
Beyond connecting members of the military to their families, broadband also plays a crucial role in the lives of Wisconsin veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Office of Telehealth has served more than 200,000 veterans through its clinic-based program, and more than 50,000 patients are enrolled in the VA’s Home Telehealth program.
And with the thousands of soldiers returning from Iraq at the end of the year, many veterans are expected to pursue educational opportunities online.
“We should be doing everything we can to help Wisconsin military veterans who have so bravely served their country,” said Phil Prange, president of the Wisconsin Business Council, a member organization of the Wisconsin IIA chapter. “When we connect veterans to broadband, we are also connecting them to opportunities in health care, education and employment.”
The Internet Innovation Alliance supports reforming the Universal Service Fund to include broadband, more efficient use of spectrum, and AT&T’s proposed merger with T-Mobile, a move estimated to provide broadband access to more than 97 percent of our nation’s population. Find out more about the IIA at http://www.internetinnovation.org. Supporters can also sign the IIA’s online petition promoting broadband access and adoption here: http://internetinnovation.org/activities/broadband-petition.