By Margaret Harding McGill, NTIA
Deanna Burnette never gave much thought to the quality of her Internet service.
Then she moved to a new house in the middle of the pandemic with startlingly slow service.
“I didn’t know how bad it was until we got it – and it was horrible,” Burnette, 27, of Winfield, Mo., said. “We were like, ‘Oh I guess this is kind of what we get for moving to an area that’s so far away from everything.’”
Burnette and her husband moved to the rural area – at least a half hour’s drive to the nearest grocery store – to live in a newly built house with space for their three dogs.
But as an IVF coordinator who “help[s] grow families”, it’s imperative for Burnette to be able to stay in contact with her patients and pharmacies, especially when she’s on-call. To do that, she needs reliable Internet service.
And the 15 Mbps connection at her house just didn’t cut it. She’d spend an hour commuting for the Wifi she needed to do her job.
“It definitely took its toll – having to go somewhere else and not being able to stay in your own home,” Burnette said. “I want to make sure I’m giving good quality care to my patients, in a timely manner.”
Burnette and her husband learned that high-speed Internet service from Gateway Fiber would be coming to her neighborhood last year, and they spent months eagerly awaiting its arrival.
“We heard about the ribbon cutting ceremony that was up the street from us and we're like, ‘It's happening!’” Burnette said.
Gateway Fiber began connecting new customers to high-speed Internet service in February, using part of a Broadband Infrastructure Program grant from NTIA. The Missouri Department of Economic Development received the $42 million grant to deploy high-speed Internet service in 12 counties across the state.
Gateway’s fiber-to-the-home project will connect approximately 4,731 households and 121 businesses with high-speed Internet service.
Burnette has now had the fiber service for a few weeks. That’s meant no more debating whose turn it is to monopolize limited Wifi bandwidth, or worrying about whether she can help her patients when she’s at home.
“Even though it seems so small or maybe sounds silly, it's made a world of difference for us,” Burnette said.
Why Internet for All matters to me: “We come from all walks of life, and everybody should have the same quality of service, regardless of their zip code or what house you live in. Everybody should be able to have the same services – it shouldn’t matter where you live.” — Deanna Burnette, 27, Winfield, Mo.