By ANITA HALTERMAN
Over the past couple of decades, Alaska has seen significant technological improvements, specifically in relation to the Internet and connected broadband.
Thanks to expanded broadband, Alaskans have the ability to be connected to anyone anywhere at any time. This expanded access to connected broadband opens the door to endless innovation and opportunities. From advancements like distance learning to telemedicine and all things in between, the connectedness of the Internet allows Alaskans to have it all.
One of the best examples of the innovation that connected broadband fosters is telehealth. Because of the advanced technology that the Internet makes possible, we have the potential to transform the way we deliver heath care and train medical providers.
The Internet makes it simpler for medical professionals to provide care or connect primary care providers to people in rural, unserved areas of the state. Expanded broadband also has the potential to more easily connect Alaskan doctors to specialists at academic centers in the lower 48, allowing for better care, and streamlining the process of continuing education.
The Internet in Alaska is about to get even faster. Soon 5G data will revolutionize our Internet, making connection faster and easier than ever before. It will open new markets and new pathways to innovation, allowing us to take advantage of the widespread connectedness that facilitates activities in our everyday lives.
With 5G connected broadband, opportunities and open doors for Alaskans will be limitless. We will truly have the world at our fingertips in a way we have never before experienced.
This cutting edge technology will provide an extraordinary opportunity to expand access to health care for Alaskans. It will enable us to better serve underdeveloped areas and treat complex conditions that need specialized attention. From an educational standpoint, we can use this expanded broadband and 5G connection to further educate health care professionals.
As both technology and medicine advance and evolve, it is critical that our doctors remain up to date on the research, practices, and procedures and have access to the continuing education that they need.
These advancements are incredible and have the potential to help innumerable communities in our state; however, Congress wants to impose bureaucratic red tape that will interfere with our ability to enjoy the benefits that connected technology offers.
We rely on the Internet every day; it aids our ability to carry out tasks as simple as household chores and our everyday routines to more complex, professional processes like telemedicine. The gift of connected broadband – and eventually 5G connectivity – has improved – and will continue to improve – our lives in tremendous ways and offer innovative solutions to both simple and complex processes.
Technology is changing every day. And with changing technology comes better and more innovative tools. These tools serve Alaskans in many ways and continue to transform the way we teach, learn, deliver health care, develop and protect our environment, and more. In many situations, connected broadband offers unique solutions to needs in our daily lives, revolutionizing the way that we ask, work, and seek answers.
Alaskans across the state cannot afford a bureaucratic takeover of the Internet; these regulations would be catastrophic. Whether it’s being used for education, telemedicine, resource development, or household tasks, the Internet has become a vital part of our everyday lives. Our state would experience serious setbacks if liberals in Congress impose bureaucratic regulations that impeded our access to a free and open Internet.
We need our lawmakers to push back and stand up for our state. We’ve come too far for Congress to step in and mess with our Internet. Without connected broadband, Alaskans will fall behind in the digital age; we need the Internet to remain connected and up to date. Our federal representatives should put Alaska first and stop this government takeover of the Internet.
Anita Halterman was President of the Alaska Collaborative for Telemedicine and Telehealth in 2017 and has served as a Director since. She worked on the first Telemedicine Medicaid reimbursement regulations in the nation starting in 2001 and carried state legislation for Telemedicine in 2016.