July 2, 2020 10:15:24 AM
Questions racism allegations over broadband
Jim Terry's letter in Tuesday's Dispatch is unfortunately filled with errors:
n The towers he talks about seeing are most likely cell towers, and have nothing to do with expanding rural broadband. That's most likely to be done using fiber optic cable that'll be strung along existing power poles and underground.
n I live in predominantly Black Noxubee county, and cell towers are everywhere.
n TVA doesn't pay rent to property owners for putting up "electric towers." Never has.
n I didn't find any numbers broken down by state, but as for the whole country whites own 98 percent of the land, and Blacks own 1 percent. That most cell towers would be on land owned by whites is a logical consequence of this disparity in land ownership and not an indication of racism.
I'm not sure what Jim Terry thinks he, or our community, can gain by him alleging racism where none exists. I really appreciate the editor's note attached to Elaine Hegwood's letter on the same day, clearing up some of her allegations with straight up facts. Maybe Jim Terry's letter would have deserved the same amount of scrutiny.
Editor's note: Mr. Gerteis makes an important point here regarding the disparity of land ownership. Also, Terry's letter did seem to equate broadband internet and cell towers, but it should be noted that for many parts of our state, cell towers (and the data connections they allow) serve as the only access to broadband internet.
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