Associated Press — Thirty-nine percent of people in rural parts of Illinois have no access to high-speed Internet service.
That’s compared with 1 percent of the state’s urban population.
That gap in Internet infrastructure is revealed in data released last month by the Federal Communications Commission.
Besides the lag, many rural areas and some smaller cities also have no backup systems.
That vulnerability was revealed when vandals sliced a fiber-optic cable in the Arizona desert last month. Tens of thousands of people were without Internet service — some for up to 15 hours.
ATMs went down, stores couldn’t process credit cards, college students put research on hold, and even 911 emergency service was lost.
But lawmakers are hesitant to require backups for fear it would raise prices and slow rural Internet expansion.

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