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Letters to the Editor

One woman's quest for decent internet

TO THE EDITOR

New Richmond is the fastest growing city in Wisconsin. Although, if you have a good set of eyes and aren't a hermit, you'd know that just by looking out the window at the constant building of ant-colony-like housing developments being built ad nauseam. Fear not friend, for this is not some "old woman yells at tree" type of scenario where I bemoan the advancement of our beautiful city.

Or am I? Listen, I'm aware. New Richmond is pretty dope. We have a fancy new restaurant that I'm not embarrassed to take relatives to, we are getting shiny new bike and walking paths that I can enjoy while not worrying about getting ran over on County Road A. We have an Aldi's! But it seems that despite all of our attempts to join the ranks of the more suburban cities in Wisconsin (oh hi Hudson!), one thing remains darn-near prehistoric.

What's a gal go to do to get decent internet in this town? That's not a rhetorical question. Literally what do I need to do? Because at this point, I'd have better luck running about 500 miles of wire down to Chicago and getting hooked up myself. It'll be great. I'll call it ValNet. Or VNet if you want to be saucy. I'll charge $20 a day for decent internet and it'll still be cheaper and faster than the back-alley robbery that Frontier and Northwest Communications offer.

And if you think I'm complaining because I want to binge watch TV or game all night, you're way off base. Don't get me wrong, I love saving up my episodes of "The Handmaid's Tale" so I can stay up for 12 straight hours in what I now know is a panic attack. But my issue with New Richmond's straight-up dumpster dive of internet offerings is far more professional and less play oriented.

Since 2005, the number of average Americans who work primarily from home has grown 150%. That's nearly 10 times faster than the rest of the workforce or the self-employed, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. And I'm not alone, even for those of you who commute to work. Most of us telecommute to work regularly now. But what happens when your internet is down? Or you keep getting booted on and off your server? Or the internet company just decides to randomly shut off services after your bill went through? Not very appealing to present-day workers now, is it?

We all think of the internet as a place for fun, especially in our homes. But if we want to start bringing in more people to our city and continue the "boomtown" recognition that we've been estimated at, then we've also got to start inviting better, more reliable internet providers into our city as well.

Otherwise, I'm serious about that VNet plan. I'll walk to Chicago if I have to.

Val Poppy

New Richmond