Rural Broadband is Sexy
April 16, 2021

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Rural Broadband is sexy.  Or….at least it’s important.  But it CAN be sexy!  We talk about rural broadband, why it’s important, and the politics surrounding it.  ​

We’re talking about rural broadband today. We recorded this early last week since John is out this weekend. So we didn’t get a chance to talk about our Patreon exclusive this week and we’ll be recording it shortly. So it should be up later in the week.

We are reading and dissecting good old JD Vance. John dammit. Vance’s tweets. Oh yeah, it’s a, it’s going to be a good time. I’m pumped. You’re pumped. Make sure that if you’re not a patron member already, you join our Patreon you get access to this and all of our previous exclusives, I think we have 26 at this point.

It’s pretty wild to think about. But, uh, anyway, thank you all so much again for supporting us. It really means the world to us. Y’all have made this pandemic for John and I much. Much better than it would have been just by listening to us and supporting us. So we’re forever grateful for that. So thank you.

And, uh, we hope that you enjoy this show and we’ve got a lot of really cool stuff coming up. We’ve got a lot of really, really great guests that I think you all will enjoy a lot of really fantastic topics to talk about. And so, yeah, really, really excited about it. And appreciate you all and hope you have a wonderful day.

Intro – Major Biden rowdy in the White House

Chuck: Well today I’m rocking the Mingo minors shirt cut off right now. If you’re watching on YouTube. I’m ready to rip. We’ve got a real sexy subject today on rural broadband. I know get high, get ready. But before that, I kind of feel embarrassed that I haven’t brought this up yet. And you know, this story it’s old, but I think it’s evergreen.

We got to talk about major bide. You know, I’m talking about he is okay. I thought you’d be more excited. All right, let’s try that again. We’ve got to talk about the dog, the rowdiest dog, the house has ever seen major Biden. There 

Big John: you go. No, that’s well, 

Chuck: that’s the whole reason I wanted to talk about it because I just, I love this.

I love this. He recently took a shit in the white house. Did you know that? 

Big John: I didn’t know about that. I hadn’t heard 

Chuck: that one yet. He did. And Fox news was so quick to report it. He took a shit in the white house, and this is after he’s nipped.

Yeah. Well, so he’s nipped them, but he’s also taken a dump at least one that we know of and I’m for it. Okay. Cause I think we need some rowdy ass sort of redneck dog and the white house. Cause too often we’ve had animals that are too well-groomed. I mean, the Obamas, they had there, you know, nothing against their dog, but they had a Portuguese water hound.

It was pure bread, you know, always done up for the cameras and then you’ve got. Rowdy ass, major Biden rolling in here, caked in mud. Just doesn’t give a fuck. And I for 1:00 AM here for it. 

Big John: Look, I, this is like one of those, um, uh, I’m trying to think of a good way to describe it, but anyway, you have like all of these, like super well-groomed, like, um, Bred dogs that have been, you know, been presidential dogs in the past, but now you’ve got these, these rescue dogs that just walk in and take over.

Cause they understand, and that you’ve got that look, they’ve been in the joint before. Okay. That’s the men, that’s the mentality. They 

Chuck: have done time. They’ve done time. That’s the mentality 

Big John: they haven’t. And when your look S. I th I know this from research, uh, when you’re in prison, you, you, you get a mindset and look Bosley.

He’s had that mindset while he still has it. He’s never gone. Uh, so he gets it. And I think that that’s, what’s going on in the white house. 

Chuck: Yeah. Well, you know, I think what it is is it makes Biden relatable. Okay. Look, he was an Amtrak, Joe. All right. And that’s, you know, Amtrak Joe with his rowdy ass German shepherd or whatever the hell it is.

It makes me feel like I can relate to my president because I too have a misbehaved ass dog who gets into a lot of trouble and who, if my dog were allowed in the white house, God forbid that day ever happened. But if my dog were allowed in the white house, Guarantee you she’s taken a shit in the Lincoln bedroom, 100%.

Did you graduate with Clark? I did. I have a funny story about Clark 

Big John: when we, yeah. Uh, Bosley Bosley, uh, was, he was only like with us, uh, at our house for like the first few months, because we didn’t want, we wanted to get them associated and stuff, but anyway, we ended up bleeding. Bosley go to chucks, to Chuck’s to Clark’s house.

Right. And at the time it was probably February. So he had just taken down like all the Christmas lights and everything and Bosley and his dogs were having a great time. And, you know, we’re like, wow. Mazda is going to be a great dog to go, you know, to take to people’s houses. We’re going to be able to do it.

Come to find out. Bosley had gone around to every pile of Christmas lights and either pissed or shit in them. Because he was, I’m assuming, trying to like claim his place, but he, why lie? He’s. There must’ve been some set on him, but anyway, he, he pissed on every pile of them and took it and took a dump.

Took a dump downstairs were, were Clark, was doing a remodel at the time. 

Chuck: Well, Bosley wanted to get his Mark on the new build. I get it. He wants to Chris in it. Right. Yeah. It was like, this is what I think of contractors. 

Big John: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. That’s that’s boss 

Chuck: guy. I support Bosley marking his territory anywhere except for my house, but, uh, he’s never been here, 

Big John: so that’s great.

If he ever goes there, he will definitely Marcus’ territory. 

Chuck: One time we, we got a, a, it was like an Airbnb only. It was through VRBO in the blue Ridge mountains. I guess they’re blue Ridge. It was North Georgia, wherever it was, it was a place called young Harris, Georgia, in fact, close to blue Ridge, Georgia.

That’s where it was. So we got to the cabin and it said, no pets, but we’re like, you know, nobody’s going to come out here and check, which is fine. And they didn’t, but we got, we brought my dog cause it was, you know, it was too expensive to board her and you know, she’s fine, whatever, it’s a Coonhound, just a little rowdy, but whatnot, go in there, put her in the cabin.

We’re there and I, I kid you not within the first 10 minutes, dog, dog drops a dump just in the middle of the guest hallway. It’s like, come on, man. Like Heidi is big. Dog is not ready for prime time. That’s my dog for anybody listening that doesn’t realize it.

Big dog is my dog. Uh, her name is Heidi. We call her big dog. But so I think her and major Biden can relate, which is good. Getting back full circle. And I just want to tell you, like, I fully support major Biden. You get in the white house. I really do. And it’s not because I disrespect, I don’t respect the white house.

I do. I respect it as a, as a, um, you know, a history sure. Piece of property, but you also respect the fact that major Biden, just maybe he just wants to let loose, you know, get rid of some anxiety, some, you know, Pent up aggression, possibly. And, and I’ll, I’ll, you know, I will digress on this, but I would say this it’s better than the human shit.

That was inevitably all throughout the white house. The past 

Big John: four years. But, um, uh, the last thing I’ll add to this, if, if you were on for everybody on the Patrion zoom call, you already heard slash saw this. Uh, but for you who all weren’t, uh, we, we did a little round of like show your dog off type thing.

And, um, I, I wanted to show, I showed Bosley, but then I wanted to show Bonnie, uh, who is a little like Corey Chihuahua mix. So she’s not. You know, she’s kind of all over the place, but anyway, I went to pick her up and she pissed everywhere during this, during the zoom call. And I kid you not, I had heard three feet off the ground and she’s just everywhere.

It is all over. Well, I, she, she gets like that where she, like, she won’t go to the bathroom for the longest time, but then she gets excited and there goes like, and I think she was just really excited for this call and, uh, she just let her in. I look I’m, I’ve never. Uh, I don’t think she’s ever paid that much before, but she L she really wanted to show off the zoom call, I guess.

Chuck: Well, you know, if that’s not incentive enough to join our Patrion, I don’t know what it is. You can watch it. You can watch John’s dog just absolutely. Piss their brains out. That’s a, that’s what your money is getting you. So congratulations. That’s not even 

Big John: in the tier promise. 

Chuck: No, it’s not. That’s not in the Raise Hell praise, Dolly. It’s not anything. It’s a, it’s not a bonus, you know, and that’s what you get with Patreon membership, a wonderful added bonus w you know, and speaking of, so it’s a good segue. That’s another real segue into our announcements, which we don’t have much. So we’ll put a pin in that and, um, So your dog barking or was that you bark big dog, big dog.

Which one? Bosley. You’re not that fucking tough bark again. Yeah, let’s hear it. I know you can’t hear me cause your head’s on headphones. 

Data-lachia

Chuck: All right, big John, we’re bringing back data. Latcha. This is the segment of the show where I cite a number, an important statistic about Appalachia that helps describe the region and is a lead into the main part of the episode. John tries to guess that we have a good time, John, the number your data for today.

72%. 

Big John: Okay. Uh, 70, 72%, uh, 72%. Okay. Uh, I don’t no hands. Okay. 72, 72% is, uh, I’m not making that joke. That’s terrible. Uh, I was let it rip. I was just going to make a bar fail joke, sorry, 72%. What I didn’t get on the bar. 72%. Uh, we didn’t take it 72%. No, uh, honestly, uh, I probably stole 72% of all cookies from Ponderosa buffets.

Chuck: And I wish that that were what we were talking about. Okay. Because this would also be called intervention diet. 

Big John: I’m waiting for that. I’m waiting for that. Sit down. If I didn’t lose all that weight, I know that was coming. That’s why I did it. I want 

Chuck: to do that. Yeah. Oh. And I can make that joke because I’m pre-diabetic so, Oh, okay.

Well, hypoglycemia. Not 

Big John: a sponsor, 

Chuck: not sponsor to my early grave. Yeah. Um, 72% big John. Uh, it was, it is not a reference to the amount of cookies you’ve taken from a Ponderosa good guests. Okay. 

Big John: 72% real guests. Uh, 72% of the current percentage of Appalachia that has broadband. 

Chuck: I will accept that I will accept the answer.

Um, I will accept it because the data I’m looking at is from 2013 to 2017. So it’s probably could, could have fluctuated between now and 20 or then in 2021, but yeah, 72% of Appalachian households had a broadband internet subscription. Which is, and this is important, roughly 6% below the national average, but in 80 of the regions counties.

So 80 of probably the most rural counties, the share was less than 60%. Yeah. That’s a huge problem. Wouldn’t you say? 

Big John: Give or take, and then people want to, people want to argue or ask why Appalachia is like CA bring employers here. And then the first thing they do is say like, Oh, it’s the, you know, it’s all the drugs.

People, the companies won’t come. Cause all the drugs companies won’t come because they can’t, they can’t actually come here. They can’t, they, they don’t have the ability to set up shop 

Rural Broadband – Its more interesting than you think

Chuck: here. No, they don’t. No, they don’t. And this is why we’ve been harping. On this show and on our social media and in our personal lives and to anybody that will listen to us about rural broadband, because maybe it’s not the sexiest topic, John, but it certainly is one of the most important and.

Contrary to popular belief of what Ben Shapiro AKA  has, has pointed out on the internet. Broadband is infrastructure. And we’re going to talk about why that is. I can’t take credit for that nickname, but I live it.

Rural broadband, John, I’m not going to get into a lot of details about this. I think we’re going to talk about, you know, what this means to us and what, why we think it’s important, but just to give you a little bit of background knowledge for people listening at home, rural broadband is essentially a high-speed or net in rural areas.

Broadband is sort of a. It’s more of a generalized term, but the FCC describes rural broadband as high-speed internet. They consider high-speed to be a download speed of 25 megabits per second or higher, and an upload speed of three megabytes. MGB. Is that what that is? Megabyte mega bits. It’s still megabits, sorry.

And an upload speeds of three megabits or higher. Don’t know what that means to you. It doesn’t mean a lot to me, but I know that that’s not really considered fast by most measurements, but even at that, um, places in Appalachia, especially, but also throughout the country are lacking in high-speed or not.

It’s estimated that 65% of counties counties in the United States, not just Appalachia in the United States have an average connection speed lower than that. FCC definition of broadband. And that doesn’t even get into the discussion of actual reliability. That’s just access. Um, so you may have access to broadband and it may not even be reliable.

Um, to give you an example in Appalachia, Mississippi only 63% of their rural population have access to high-speed broadband. And if you think about Mississippi, a lot of Mississippi as a rural, I mean, they have one major urban hub really. I guess that’s Jackson. And then maybe, maybe you consider Biloxi and down in the coast to be not rural, but a lot of Mississippi’s rural.

So that kind of gives you a preview in Minneapolis and States are very similar to that. John, why does this matter? Why do we care about rural broadband, about internet access and rural areas?

Big John: think there’s, I think there’s a number of reasons, right? First off, the obvious one that we just talked about, uh, in order to be competitive on a national and even international scale, because, you know, obviously the invention of the internet has put everybody against everybody in terms of competition, without broadband Appalachia has no chance.

We already have other things that are running against us, but that is, uh, you know, one of the big ones that’s stopping. People from moving here or wanting to come here and bring their business here. The other thing is, uh, now in 2021, as we’re continuing to move through this Corona virus, pandemic, people are looking at remote work even more.

It’s something that. Companies are now talking about at an all-time high. Cause if you, if you remember, like five years ago, no company wanted remote work.

It didn’t matter. But now that’s changed. Companies are seeing that. In actuality research is showing that people are getting more work done even with being at home and taking care of their kids because they’re in a far more comfortable environment, they’re able to multitask a lot easier and they don’t have to worry about other things associated with offices.

But why would people want to do remote work in West Virginia? If they don’t have fast internet or they don’t have internet at all, it’s not possible. Mississippi. Why would people want to go there? 

Chuck: You’re absolutely right. And I think I’m glad you brought up Ramon work. Cause that’s one of the issues that I think because of the pandemic is so much more important and worth talking about with this there’s a lot and we’re going to talk about a couple of others, but yeah, with remote work, one thing, and I think I’m, maybe we referenced this in a previous episode, but.

Places like West Virginia, like East Tennessee, especially beautiful, beautiful country needs to see, or Western North Carolina or places like Appalachian, Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky. Are really, really great places. If you want to go and not be in an urban environment like New York city or Washington DC, or, you know, even, you know, even a Charlotte, North Carolina or somewhere like that.

And it would be a really fruitful opportunity for people to move there, or even for employees or employers to maybe partially relocate to places like that, if they had reliable broadband, because, you know, and I was thinking about this the other day. My wife and I were, you know, we, we just moved to the DC Metro area, um, last June, 2020.

So not even a year. And you know, we’re trying to assess like, do we want to live here permanently, like super expensive, kind of tough, you know, to make that work. Um, and one thing I thought about was like, you know, I would love to be able to both of us, I guess, work remotely. And be able to move back to like West Virginia or move to somewhere else in Appalachia.

That’s a little bit more rural. That’s the cost of living is lower, but the pace of life is also a little bit lower and it’s better to raise your family in. And that would be like, that would be super ideal, but, you know, considerations like the. Reliability and access abroad band are big ones and big prohibitive factors for that.

And also big prohibitive factors for companies to bring jobs in. You know, that’s a big thing. I mean, almost any company right now, unless it’s like solely. You know, um, work with your hands kind of labor. There’s going to be some aspect of it. It’s going to be done online and on the internet. And the trend is only trending more in the direction of, of wired work, so to speak.

So, I mean, that’s a huge aspect of 

Big John: it. Yeah. I mean, uh, currently my wife works, um, works at home. I did for a long time until they brought us back. But, but just the, the amount that. The amount that she has to work and the reliability that she needs in Parkersburg, which. Is, uh, not a big city. I nevermind cut Parkersburg.

And the city that we live in, uh, that usually, uh, reliability is still an issue, even though it’s a bigger city and a small state like West Virginia, we still have a lot of outages. We’ve Chuck, you’ve seen it. We know when we go to record, I’ll have a random outage, uh, you know, internet won’t be able to, to come up.

So I can’t record at that moment. So I have to wait to record. 

Chuck: Well, I’m just going to say the irony of that is that you got choppy throughout that statement. And so when I do the video for this, it’s going to be, you are 

Big John: all right. Well, there you go. That’s perfect. Uh, that’s my internet. Anyway, the remote work is the future.

It’s going to be what everybody does. I mean, it’s just point blank. Companies can now save money without brick and mortar buildings because they can just have you do it at home. Uh, it’s gonna, it’s gonna be the way the future companies are gonna have to. Have that reliability, otherwise people are going to leave.

I think what Vermont’s doing is genius. Vermont is a small state that doesn’t have a ton to offer in terms of, uh, you know, major corporations moving there, but they’re beautiful state. And now they have really reliable broadband. So what, what happens? People are moving there in droves because they can now work from home.

Have a great time and live in one of the most beautiful States in this country. It’s a win-win win. Uh, I think it’s great. And then you have, you have States like West Virginia, Mississippi, um, who are more focused on, you know, banning trans kids than they are getting, you know, their economy to actually, uh, be improved at all.

Chuck: Yeah. Well, that’s a thing. I mean, States like West Virginia, Mississippi, and all these others, um, this is like a golden goose sitting in front of them and. They’re just ignoring it for these culture war issues. And I should say the legislatures and particularly the Republican dominated legislature, just to be specific beer.

Right. And I just think that like more and more, this is going to be the reality, especially after the pandemic, like things are not going to go back to exactly how they were before we know that. And that’s been demonstrated to employers. They can, now that a lots of employers have seen their businesses function perfectly fine with a lot of people remote, and they’re going to continue allowing that or allowing the flexibility.

And you’d better bet the people with like young families are going to take advantage of that because I mean, with the costs of childcare, which I don’t even, I won’t even get into this, but just the cost of childcare alone, if you’re able to stay at home and maybe work part-time or be able to take care of your kids sometimes so that you don’t have to put them in daycare.

Huge. The other thing I was thinking of too, and this is kind of gets. Pushed by the wayside a little bit, but this is so important, especially in places in Appalachia is telehealth. And so what that means is being able to have access to health care from your computer, basically from the internet. And I’ll tell you, John, as an example, over the past 12, 13 months, maybe I haven’t had an in-person doctor’s appointment at all, but I’ve had over 10, 12, 13 doctor’s appointments.

For various certain things. And they’ve all been like through, um, private video channels, um, online. They’re tele-health and a lot of, um, like medication I take the, you have to consult with a doctor for it can be done online. It’s fantastic. It honestly, it is amazing because you don’t have to wait in a doctor’s office.

You don’t have to take time off of work to do that. You have a prescheduled time. Most of the time my doctors have been on time. It’s been amazing and this could really revolution nice people’s access to healthcare and Appalachia even just for. For people that are trying to see like a therapist or something, or they’re trying to check in with their doctor and telling them about, you know, how they’re feeling, et cetera, certain things have to be done in person, but a lot of stuff.

Doesn’t and that’s where, you know, people would benefit so much from having access to high-speed internet, to be able to do this. You know, you think about a place like Mingo and swore the shirt, uh, where, you know, the closest doctor might. Not be for 30, 45 an hour down the road. But if you had access to high-speed internet, they could be click away.

Big John: That’s a good point. I I’ve only done, I think one tele-health thing. And, uh, it was interesting. I thought it was one of those things I wouldn’t like, but I actually ended up liking it surprisingly. Cause I, I was, I 

Chuck: love it. I’m super anti-social. 

Big John: I was a little worried about it, to be honest with you. The other thing I think that’s going to be really important to, I guess, talk about would be there’s this, obviously there’s this new bill that’s coming up that, you know, infrastructure bill that we’ve had plenty of conversations on Twitter about because for some reason, People don’t think that broadband is infrastructure, which makes zero sense at all.

Uh, broadband is probably the most, uh, essential, uh, piece of infrastructure we have right now. It’s also one of the least developed parts of it. The. The thing is going to be though check the number that you gave the 72%. That also includes old fiber, which is going to be really important because old fiber’s not going to work when it comes to new broadband.

That’s not going to get the speeds that people need. It’s not going to have the reliability, we’re going to have to redo that. And part of the problem is currently old law shows or old regulations. Stop us from like, just digging it up out of the ground and replacing it with new fiber. Usually they want to do people.

They want to do areas that don’t have anything first, which would include some of the bigger cities across Appalachia, just not being able to get an upgrade. And the other thing is a lot of the times it’s dependent on income levels. So if there’s a place that doesn’t meet the threshold in terms of an LMI, then it’s going to be one of those issues that we have continuing until those regulations are changed.

So that’s just a random thing, but I wanted to point that out. Let’s 

Rural, Broadband, Internet
Photo credit: USDA via Flickr

Chuck: talk about why it is infrastructure, why broadband is, and one of, you know, infrastructure, the term that’s thrown around a lot. Typically it’s used to describe like roads, bridges, um, You know, power supplies, things that are physical structures that are needed for a modern society.

That’s how I would describe it. And oftentimes it is physical and that’s fine because broadband certainly fits that definition. We talked about broadband. This includes, you know, two big buckets, both wireless and wired. Internet. So, you know, wireless, meaning use wifi, whatever, yada, yada, what have you. Um, but also wired doesn’t, you know, ether, net, uh, DSL, that type of thing.

So any type of infrastructure associated with broadband, if you’re talking about wireless, You’re talking about towers that are supported within Tenas and repeaters, which are physical infrastructure. When you’re talking about wired it’s fiber optic cables or copper wire, like you talked about. So it’s literally installing fiber optic cables.

This is, this is infrastructure 1000000%. It is, I don’t care who you are. And it’s lacking in a lot of these rural areas. So. Well, you mentioned is a really good point that a lot of this stuff is old and outdated. It needs replaced. That’s where the federal government can come in and finance that kind of stuff.

Because right now a lot of it is private finance. And so if you’re Verizon or at and T or T-Mobile, so it doesn’t really make a lot of sense for you financially to put a bunch of, of infrastructural operations in a place like rural. North Carolina or rural West Virginia or wherever, because it just doesn’t fit your bottom line.

That’s why we need the government to step in on. 

Big John: There is a, there is a major issue with that though. And that it’s what we’ve seen in the past is like the government will fund, um, to have fiber laid, but then it’s really difficult to get a company to want to serve out there because yeah, the F the fiber has been laid.

But then there’s only 10 customers, right? And the agreement is once that fiber is laid and the contract is awarded, that then becomes the responsibility of the provider. So if something goes wrong with the fiber and so they don’t see the risk of war, we’re going to have to figure something out there though, in terms of getting, even if it’s, uh, one of the ideas is to start regulating it as a utility.

And I think that. 

Chuck: And what does that mean? What does it mean to regulate as utility? Because I feel like that term has been thrown around a lot, especially with the internet. 

Big John: Yeah. So it would be essentially you’d be taken under a PSC, which is a public service commission. Uh, so it’s anything like a water and sewer, for instance.

So the bills that you get, uh, those are, those are all regulated. So even though they come from a PSD or a public service district, they are still going to be. Um, regulated by a higher entity at the government level. So they can’t just, uh, they can’t just do increases when they want, they have to have, the PFC has to approve it.

They can’t just, um, enact projects to do projects. The PSC has to be in on that. There’s a lot of rules and regulations that go into to going over these PSDs. Uh, but Internet’s not treated the same way even though it’s starting to be looked at as that same type of entity where we have to. We have to ensure that people are getting service and ensure that it’s good service while also being affordable enough to actually apprehend.

And I think that it being, um, put under a utility could be beneficial. It won’t be easy because there are a lot of people who don’t think that that broadband should be under that I personally do. Um, But that is you’re right. That that term is used a lot. And I don’t think people always know what that means in terms of, um, that regulation and, and trust me, Verizon, uh, sudden link Comcast.

They’re all gonna fight that they don’t want to be under PSCs. So it’s going to be a, Oh yeah, 

Chuck: no, you’re going to see it. Just shit flying. Left and right on that because they don’t, they don’t want the, uh, the restraints on them limiting their free market, invisible hands. 

Big John: And the one thing I will say is there are a lot of people who I think doubt the impact of broadband in doubt, the impact of, of internet.

I can tell you from like, From being in these small communities who don’t, who the only option is satellite internet, which is like $200 a month that I’m not making that up. Like it is, it is super expensive. Uh, I, 100% believe it. Yeah. And so it’s, it’s not good service. The service kicks out all the time.

And so once that, that broadband is laid. You should see the development of those companies, the small businesses who have been there, who can now finally use like a square for credit card transactions. Like it’s, it’s stuff like that, that, that people don’t think about that makes a massive difference and can change the.

The scope of a town really quickly. 

Chuck: One thing you pointed out, which is kind of obvious is there’s just not much competition in the space of internet service providers. And that’s a huge, huge problem. I don’t, I’m not an expert on that, so I don’t really know all the ways to solve it. I know in Tennessee, what’s interesting is that they have a lot of smaller rural broadband providers.

So. And places like Nashville, like you’re really just, you know, stuck with at, and T Comcast, that type of thing. But if you get into some of those, like more rural counties, you usually have a provider for that County. This is not associated with at and T or what have you. And I can’t speak to whether or not that’s a good thing.

I know that like, there’s still some issues with that, but it at least gives a little bit more local control to, um, to people in rural areas. So they’re not beholden to those bigger interests and they can kind of run it how they want. That might be one option. I think, you know, This is why it’s tough, right?

Like the internet dominates everything right now, but yet there’s still so many people that don’t have reliable quality access to it. And you don’t have all the answers to that. But I do think that that regulating it like a public utility is really smart because it also allows you to be able to. Reach more people, you know, if you look at it like water or like electricity, it’s the same thing.

I mean, it’s a lot easier to provide electricity for people in a, in an urban area where everybody is closer together, where you don’t have to, you know, do, um, a power cut. Into different Ridge lines to get across, to, uh, to get to another holler, to get them electricity. So, but still like people, you know, I mean, we were, we found a way to connect most people with clean room, clean drinking, water and electricity.

Now there are, are still plenty of problems with that in Appalachia, which we could get into and spend days on. But. Suffice it to say it’s possible. And part of that is having the government play a bigger role. So there’s less of a profit motive because it is not profitable to provide high speed internet, to certain places, certain hollers, certain places where people are desperately trying to live, but it’s something we need to make happen.

Yeah. 

Big John: I mean, we’re, we’re going to have to make it accessible for them. And at the, at the same time we’re going to have to pull old fiber. To get towns and, and even cities get them to the point where they’re now competing at the best level that they can because they’re, there is that sense. The only way 

Chuck: they survive.

It’s the only way some of these towns survive. I mean, you look at some of these smaller towns, coal mining towns, but ones that just like are just smaller, you know, like a, like a McMinnville Tennessee, for example, where if you don’t have reliable access to internet, you’re. Like you are absolutely fucked, but if you do that opens up a lot of opportunity that wouldn’t normally be there.

That’s where like, you know, uh, Mingo County can actually be connected within the 21st century economy. Whereas right now they, they can’t really. 

Big John: Yeah. And the thing that always, it pisses me off too. It’s like, I hear people say like, um, Well, you know, it’s their choice to live out there or why do they really need it?

It’s kind of always an issue that I see. Like there’s some inclination that people in, I don’t know, like hazard Kentucky or Mingo County, West Virginia, that for some reason they’re not creative people who I don’t know could have like an Etsy shop, like every other person on this. Blocking planet, uh, who could make money doing things like that, who could start a podcast, maybe it takes off.

Maybe they make money from it. Who knows? Maybe they’re just, maybe they are really good at building websites, but they can’t do it because they don’t have access to the internet. And they’re driving an hour each way. I mean, there are so many possibilities, this, this inclination of why do people deserve it?

Needs to stop if it does. It’s it’s. Remarkable how selfish we’ve gotten when it comes to these things. And the fact is that we can no longer see, uh, see how other people have to live and, and have any, any empathy at all. It’s insane. But anyway, broadband is one of those, I mean, broccoli is one of those hot topics too, that politicians, I think honestly, could capitalize a lot more on, um, No, that’s something glad you mentioned that, that, but, but before we move on, we should move on to that.

But I want to say, and this is going to make some people mad that there are a lot of Appalachian, uh, legislators, Republicans, Democrats. That maybe people who listen to the show, don’t like, and I don’t like, I don’t like everything they do, but I will say a lot of them are on the forefront of broadband.

They, they are pushing, they are see to do things. They’re getting money to the arc. They’re getting money to States. So I will say, you know, credit where credit is due. We’re not going to just call out people and make fun of them. We’re also going to give them credit. Like there are people like Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore, capita, who, who do bring a lot of money.

To the state of West Virginia, for things like broadband, it, it, it’s just the facts. And there are people in, you know, in Kentucky who are able to bring money for broadband. There are people in Tennessee, you know, it doesn’t matter an R or D next to their name. They’re doing it. The problem is that there.

It takes time for one and two. There’s only so many resources. So you have all of these cities and all of these towns competing for the same resources and trying to justify why they should get it, why they should get the upgrade or why they should get the installation. So it’s a really long process, but I think that that infrastructure built the federal level.

Chuck: My opinion is the Republicans have actually done a better job on the messaging end of, of making this an issue. Now I can’t really speak to what they’ve actually done, but. Because a lot of their constituents live in rural areas. It’s something that they focus more on. I think Democrats have completely and totally dropped the ball on this issue and it could have been an, it could be an issue that really helps them bring in rural voters.

It really does. And I just think that they’ve completely dropped the ball like. Nationally from the messaging standpoint of, there are plenty of Democrats locally, their messaging around this, but it is something that’s really important. And, and something that is frustrating for a lot of people, you know, it’s easy to take it for granted.

You and I both have smartphones. We both have, you know, at least for the most part, reliable internet, a lot of people don’t have that, especially in places like we’ve been Hampshire County, West, Virginia place. I spent. You know, several summers of my life. They’re, they’re one of the worst when it comes to access to reliable high-speed internet in West Virginia, other places too.

And, um, and rural Southwestern, Virginia, same thing. So, and the politics of it is smart. I mean, it’s a no brainer in my opinion. And you know, infrastructure oftentimes is a no brainer because. Look, I mean, everybody drives on roads and bridges and everybody’s going to get pissed off at a pothole. So you say you’re gonna spend more money on that.

That’s good. That’s great. Rural broadband is obviously a part of that conversation. And if I’m a Democrat, I’m campaigning hard on that because I want everybody to be connected and I want everybody to have the same type of opportunity, especially. Yeah, look at farmers. Farmers are some of the biggest beneficiaries of rural broadband, the ability to access online livestock markets to be able to purchase and run state of the art, um, farming equipment that helps them far more efficiently and more effectively.

You know, I like those are the types of things that people don’t think about with this, but that are so important. And politically, we talked a lot about politics on the show politically, in my opinion, Slam fucking dunk. 

Big John: The, the politics is, is a really weird part of it too, because like I said, I do think that there could be, um, There’s somebody you could cap.

I don’t think either party has, has fully capitalized on. And I do agree that I think Republicans are starting to do a better job with their messaging, but they don’t have a, they don’t have a monopoly on it yet. Right? Like obviously we know which party has monopolies on things, but there’s no monopoly on this.

So either party could really capitalize. 

Chuck: Th there’s not, but there could be by Republicans if they’re 

Big John: not careful. If the Democrats don’t step up and create messaging for it, it doesn’t matter. But again, this comes back to the same point that I will make every time we talk about rural issues. And then it’s the fact that it feels like the national level Democrats have forgotten in for and given up on rural voters.

And because of that, they don’t talk about things like broadband because people in New York city, in California and major, major, uh, major cities, they don’t, they don’t care about that because they have it. It’s not a big deal to them. There are some people who do understand why it’s important to other areas, uh, that do care about it.

But in terms of your everyday average voter, who let’s say lives in, um, you know, lives in Newark, they don’t, they don’t care about broadband. They have it. It’s, it’s not a hot issue. It’s not something it’s not a sexy issue. Like we joked around about at the beginning of the show. So it’s one of those things that Democrats can control, uh, if they, if they start really focusing in on it, but we’ll see, I.

I don’t even, I guess, personally, like I honestly don’t care about the politics of it. Who does it? Like, I don’t care if it’s Democrats Republicans, libertarians. I don’t care I’m with you. Yeah. Just get it done. Let’s do this. And like I said, there is a lot of things that work, and I know that there are people who are really kind of upset at the way broadband has been.

I promise you, there are people who are doing so much work. It’s insane. They’re, you know, they’ve dedicated their lives to making sure that Appalachia gets broadband. So, uh, there are a lot of good people. We can not discount their work. And I think that they’re going to be the people who can push us forward if.

If people at them, that’s going to be the big 

Chuck: thing I think you’re right. And, and that, that is a good flag. You know, it is important to mention that, um, that that’s, you know, there are people throughout all of Appalachia in this country, uh, outside of Appalachians are doing an important work on rural broadband every day.

And we appreciate that. I’m just hoping that more can be done. And one of the big things is passing an infrastructure bill through this Congress that has robust funding for rural broadband, a hundred billion, I believe is the current number. I hope that that goes to that. And I hope that it’s distributed, not just as.

A bailout for those big telecom companies, it’s gotta be equitably distributed for people throughout the region. Very good point. Well, thank you. And speaking of good points, uh, points are something that I rarely scored in sports, but the sport of beef is one with a time honored tradition. And what’d you say the, um, the Belle of the ball when it comes to beef?

Is weird. The bell of the ball when it comes to beef as our own big John, John, what do you got? We’re recording this on a Thursday. This is very unusual for us, but John’s gonna be out, uh, throughout this weekend. So I’m saying early, when he got, this is like a beef where you’ve had to come up with another one quite quickly.

So. Please to present to you. The be freezing Malfoy of the South coming to you. Live from a foreclosed under row sub back tub back buss Fe world champion with Ben, John

Big John: So this one, it changed too. It’s funny, um, that there, it was going to be something else at the beginning of the day, and now it’s going to be something totally different. And that’s the fact that like I no longer and I look, I got beef with myself on this. Okay. I got beat for myself. Holy 

Chuck: shit. That’s the most, that’s the most messed up beast 

Big John: a long time.

And I will admit when I ran for office, I really struggled with this concept, right. Um, that obviously, like I ran as a Democrat, there were things that people agreed with me with. There are P you know, things that they didn’t, uh, even on the democratic side. But I always in my 

Chuck: head was, yeah, you got called lib tart a lot.

It was pretty wild, 

Big John: which was weird. But then I, then I would also get called, like too conservative. So it was like, I couldn’t do anything. Right. You know, which is, I think that’s how most politicians feel. But anyway, for a really long time, my messaging and the way I really did think was you need to respect the opinions of everyone that I always push that.

Right. 

Chuck: It’s going to be a hot take. I can already 

Big John: feel it. Point. I still think that. Right. So like there, there are opinions that you should respect there. You know, there are things that we could have a disagreement on, like Chuck, uh, What’s your favorite tutors biscuit. 

Chuck: Okay. All right. Yeah, my John, my favorite, my favorite tutors biscuit is the huggy 

Big John: bear.

Okay. Well, mine, mine is the thundering herd, but I respect your opinion, Chuck. Okay. I 

Chuck: respect your opinion. I think you’re fucking bullshit. You’re full of shit from that one 

Big John: construct, but that that’s an opinion you can respect. That’s a topic. There is no more of this. I have to respect people’s opinions when they’re being bigots.

Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural Broadband Rural BroadbandRural Broadband Rural Broadband

Chuck: That sounds like something that came from 

Big John: Twitter expecting that I’m not respecting people who want to talk down to, uh, to trans people. No. I don’t respect that there there’s no way shape or form. Can I, can I tolerate that anymore? And I won’t, that’s just, and no one should, because it’s bullshit.

And the fact is like, I can’t even respect people who are like, Oh, you know, uh, Black lives matter is, uh, is not as important as blue lives matter or whatever. Th no, like people are, people are being killed. I’m done respecting those opinions. That’s it? It’s, it’s not a joke anymore. And to be honest with you, Chuck, whoever came up with respect to other people’s opinions, it was because they probably had some really shitty opinions and that’s.

That’s the truth of the matter. The people who want you to respect other people’s opinions are the people who shouldn’t, who deserves zero respect for their opinions. Nothing. They don’t deserve it at all because they’re probably being bigots or they’re being assholes, or they’re being racist. They’re doing something that is not justifiable, but they expect you to sit by and shut your mouth so that they could spew their QA on bullshit.

And that’s, I’m done with that. I don’t respect that anymore because look. We in 2016, the respect, other people’s opinion is what got Trump elected point blank, because we, we said, Oh, you know, you got to respect what they’re saying though. No, you don’t, you don’t, it’s dangerous to respect that opinion. Now it really is.

We’ve seen the damage that will cause no more of it. Stand up for what you think. Stop respecting other people’s opinion. If it comes down to life, death, then being bigoted, racist, whatever. Stop respecting it because there, it doesn’t deserve respect. Respect is earned is how I’ve always thought of it. And I think that that’s how I’m going to play on people’s opinions now is like, is it something that I can respect, even if I disagree wholeheartedly, but is it something that I can sit down and say, you know what?

It’s at least respectable and being a bigot. Nah, not going to happen.

It’s just, I’m not going to respect. I’m not going to respect Ben Shapiro. 

Chuck: Well, well, big John’s internet did cut out right there. Uh, but what he was saying is he doesn’t respect being a shipping office and I’d have to agree with them. I don’t either. Um, I think it’s safe to say it’s not controversial thing to say.

Uh, bigots. I don’t think that’s controversial and look, there’s certain opinions yeah. That you can respect. Um, you know, if you think, uh, that, that trade. Trade that’s a great one, you know, free trade, fair trade, keep it domestic. That great one great debate going on. They’re not particularly interested in it personally, uh, protect the American worker.

That’s my opinion, but on things like. I don’t think the Holocaust existed. That’s an opinion, it’s a dump and opinion, and it’s an easily disprovable opinion. And it’s also one that doesn’t merit anybody’s 

Big John: respect. If an opinion is, or can be respected, you should respect it. If it can’t and you think, or maybe, you know, that you sitting by and tolerating that is bad for somebody else because let’s face it.

Jug. We’re two white guys. Right. The opinions of other people probably aren’t going to affect us too much because to be honest, you know, we’re lucky, we’re pretty privileged people, you know? And, and I think that some people are afraid to admit that I don’t know why it’s weird. Um, but. Us sitting around and like just letting somebody spew hatred towards, you know, towards the black community or towards the LGBT community or something like that.

Like, we’re not a part of that community. We’ll never take that on it, you know, as something, but the least we can do is tell that person to shut the fuck up. I mean, just 

Chuck: pointing. Yeah. Um, I’m here for that. Yeah. No, we’re, we’re very privileged. Um, you know, My only, my only claim to fame is I’m a quarter Syrian and definitely had one racial slur in regard to that hurled at me.

And it was at shepherd. So. Um, but yeah, we are you’re right. And, uh, and I’ll tell them to go fuck themselves. I don’t give a shit. 

Big John: So I was trying to cut down on cussing, but then this came up, 

Chuck: got a great job. I haven’t, 

Big John: this, this beef came up and I don’t like it anymore. I have to 

Chuck: exp well, I’ve found really good.

I found really good ways of bleeping it out this time. I ripped from a banjo Kazooie, um, audio track where I have Kazooie just going. So like, like I cut, like for the last up 70 said walk up in the, in the club, like what up? I got a big cock. It goes, what up? I got to bang her 

Big John: people. People, really people really enjoyed, uh, what does it

Chuck: that is not motivating me to make that coffee table book. I’ll tell you that. I don’t give a fuck. Who, who liked it or however 

Big John: many. I mean, honestly like that was that people really enjoy that. I think that you’re going to have to become a publisher. 

Chuck: Well, you know, they also enjoy is a good beef with big John like this one was, and they also enjoy our social media.

So follow us on there. Check us out on our website@podlatch.com. patrion.com/pod latch. Get an exclusive every single week as well as many other bonus things. And then finally shoot us an email info@appalachia.com. Always love to hear from you. You can find that by just go into Gmail or he can, you can send us something on our website, you know, go there too, and they can mail us stuff.

And they can mail us. I don’t know why anybody would want to mail us anything, but if you feel fine, you can do the PO box. John will get it. He’ll feel very excited. And yeah. PO 

Big John: box 24 66, Parkersburg West Virginia, two six one zero two. I’ll pick it up. And I decided something. Chuck, if someone sends us something, we will, we will open it right here.

Chuck: Yeah. Um, so don’t send us Dick pics, unless you want them on 

Big John: YouTube, then we’re really going to become Akaka 

Chuck: latcha  it’s the, it’s the only fans version of our podcast. It’s just a collection of Dick pics folks. So you get what you pay for brought to you by 

Big John: Macklemore. 

Chuck: What up, I’ve got a coffee table, book and dicks on that note.


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