Editor: During this pandemic, we’ve learned that every household in Arlington needs access to quality, low-cost Internet service to satisfy basic needs relating to education, health care, employment, etc.

The Internet has become a utility, like water or electricity. So it is high time to develop a comprehensive plan for providing Internet services. But when a group of Arlingtonians asked for such a plan at the Dec. 12 County Board meeting, Chairman Libby Garvey and the county manager said not to worry, they are taking care of it.

But they are not. The county government is studying a Band-Aid approach that will leave some residents without quality Internet access and others with increasingly costly Internet bills.

We can do better.

The County Board needs to consider joining other forward-looking localities that have formed their own broadband authorities and built their own fiber networks. Community-owned networks provide some of the highest-speed, lowest-cost Internet services in the world.

But doesn’t Arlington own some fiber already? Yes! When faced with large bills for county-government Internet services, Arlington built the backbone of such a network to provide services to county-related properties. The investment more than paid for itself. We are asking the County Board to take the logical next step and do for its residents what it did for itself.

The way forward will not be through piecemeal ownership of fiber and wifi that doesn’t reach everyone. Let’s finish the county’s study, but move forward with establishment of a broadband authority.

For more information, see the Website at www.ArlFiber.org.

Detta Kissel, Arlington

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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