The North Bend Eagle


FCC sees broadband success on North Bend farm

by Nathan Arneal
Published 6/6/18

With technology, the internet and cloud-based data changing the way farming is done, an FCC commissioner made his way to a North Bend farm to see how farmers are utilizing high-speed broadband internet.

FCC visitDoug Ruzicka, left, talks with FCC commissioner Brendan Carr. The stop at Ruzicka Farms was part of a three-state tour for Carr.

Last Wednesday Brendan Carr, one of five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission that regulates electronic and over-air communication, visited Ruzicka Farms northwest of North Bend to get a sense of how farmers use broadband.

The Ruzicka farm is lucky enough to sit near a fiber optic cable buried by Great Plains Communications, giving it access to all the bandwidth it needs. Prior to tapping into the fiber optic line, internet speeds were very slow.

“And that was with just one device pulling off it,” Doug Ruzicka said. “You throw more than one on there it was just impossible. Everyone just sat there and watched it buffer for 20 minutes.”

Carr said the FCC’s goal is to get more people in rural communities access to this kind of broadband internet. He said 25 million households don’t have broadband options. He gave an example of a farm he visited where they used drones to shoot video of fields so they can pinpoint problem spots while there is still a chance to correct the deficiencies, but then it took four hours to upload the images when they got home at night.

“So it’s a much different experience when get a broadband connection at a facility like (Ruzicka’s),” Carr said. “It’s good to see the positive success stories, but we also see farms on the other side of it where we have work to do to get the policies in place to make it easier to deploy to those communities.”

Carr asked if the increased speed and bandwidth has allowed Ruzickas to do more things with technology, or just the same things they were doing faster.

“Some of its the same but a lot faster,” Doug Ruzicka said. “The easier and faster it is to look at something like that, the more you’re going to use it. Everybody’s busy. If it’s going to take you 20 minutes too bring something up, and you have 15 fields to look at, you’re not going to do it. The speed thing is huge.”



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