Residents of Winlock, Washington – where internet is dead slow, if available at all – are major proponents of net neutrality and argue internet is a basic necessity

It’s Saturday morning at a café near the museum in Winlock, Washington, and Michelle Conrow is eating brunch while surfing the internet on her laptop. What might seem a banal activity for many is a luxury for Michelle. The internet at her house just outside the town is primitive by today’s standards, with speeds similar to the dial-up days of the 1990s. It took three days to download Microsoft Office to her new computer.

Many of the 1,300 residents in this rural area, which was once the US’s second largest egg producer, report frustratingly slow connections. There’s no binging on the latest must-watch Netflix show or streaming music on Spotify to suit your mood. No quick downloading of a podcast for your journey to work as you grab your coat. No running several devices simultaneously as parents catch up with internet banking or shopping on Amazon while their children chat on social media and watch YouTube videos.

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