CLEVELAND, Tenn. (CNN) – In this day and age, internet connectivity is an essential part of the nation’s infrastructure, but in some places, it doesn’t exist.
This is particularly true in many rural areas, communities that desperately need internet access.
Bob and Amanda Pritchard built their own home. They are raising three kids. He’s an assistant principal, and she’s starting her own business. One thing is missing though. The Pritchard’s are just beyond the internet’s reach.
Bob the assistant principal of Cleveland High School in Tennessee said that it is an essential part of education and business. Amanda is trying to start her own fresh-cut flower business and said that the internet could help her.
“I could definitely reach more people and education purposes learning how to start a business and run a business,” she said.
The Pritchard’s live in Cleveland, Tennessee, near Chattanooga, which has some of the fastest internet in the country.
Reverb Media used to be in Cleveland, its owner Clark Campbell needed broadband. He had no choice but to move the company Chattanooga.
“As much as I love Chattanooga, Cleveland is losing jobs because of new companies that are moving to Chattanooga for just better infrastructure and mainly internet,” said Campbell.
Supplying internet and now broadband nationwide is a goal of the federal government.
Since 2011 the FCC has spent billions of dollars building out broadband to rural areas. Still, some 24 million Americans don’t have basic access to the internet.
Cleveland’s old wool mill is being refurbished into the Grit and Grace Vintage and Artisan Market, and the internet is essential.
“If we don’t cross this digital divide Cleveland, Tennessee will plateau and cease to grow,” said Cleveland’s mayor.
Charter and AT&T, CNN’s parent company, both say faster, cheaper more reliable internet is rolling out in Cleveland and their service areas nationwide.
When that will happen though is harder to say.
But with satellites and 5g wireless around the corner, maybe high-speed access will soon look differently, maybe.