Land O’Lakes co-ops open their wifi for rural residents


Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford has long been an advocate of rural broadband and with it being more important than ever to have a good internet connect, Land O’Lakes has turned on public wifi at more than 100 co-op locations to give rural America better internet speed.

“Nobody’s going to stay in communities or move to communities that don’t have that kind of access. This is in stark relief in this moment, where you can see this issue with the pandemic and everyone is going to remote learning and there’s concern over the reduction of the number of hospitals in rural communities, the shortage of doctors,” Ford told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “We’ve been pushing the need for a 1930s kind of rural electric level investment where we have broadband accessible across the United States. That would be a $100 billion to $150 billion investment.”

Ford believes that rural broadband has been left behind and is not a priority, which is the main challenge it faces. She says internet has to be treated as “almost a right” like mail delivery and electricity.

“It’s so central to the way we work and develop new businesses, and protect ourselves from a health perspective,” she said.