Broadband service must be incentivized
Regarding the Sept. 6 story "By year's end, Internet to be available to 90% of McDowell": In the 1970s, I lived in McDowell County for four years. A prime reason for the stagnating economy in rural West Virginia was the difficulty in communication with other areas. The situation has changed little.
Forty years later, high-speed broadband is exactly what McDowell County and other rural areas need to spark economic growth and job creation. Broadband increases a community's employment levels and can help attract employers and skilled workers.
Despite this good news, West Virginia still lags the nation in the percentage of our households with broadband access. How can we fix that?
First, by urging government to keep faith with the bipartisan policy in place since President Clinton signed the Telecom Act of 1996: open markets, more competition and light regulation. Broadband providers have spent more than $1 trillion to build one of the world's most powerful broadband infrastructures since then, reaching 95 percent of American homes; European-style government controls would only stifle the capital expenditures needed to get broadband to the rest.
Second, by advocating for programs that create incentives for broadband providers to invest in rural networks, such as the FCC's recent reform of the Universal Service Fund to include broadband and proposed changes to the Rural Utilities Service to focus more on unserved communities.
Broadband is a modern technology, but to expand its use we mainly need good old-fashioned common sense.
License renewals require documents
If your driver's license expires in the next few months, and if your name has changed since your original birth certificate, you will need certified (with raised seal) copies of your birth certificate, marriage certificate and, if necessary, divorce decrees and marriage certificates for every time your name changed. You also need proof of your Social Security number and two proofs of residency.
Birth certificates are available at West Virginia Vital Statistics in the former Diamond Department Store building or at the Kanawha County Courthouse. Divorce records are in the circuit clerk's office. Start early; lines are long. Visit dmv.wv.gov for requirements.