Yellowstone park considers bumping up the bandwidth, sparking discord on digital distractions

Industries Associated Press

Can Old Faithful compete with Netflix? The prospect of streaming wireless service deep inside Yellowstone National Park is re-igniting the debate over whether there should be any place off limits to technology.

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Park officials are in discussions with CenturyLink about installing a $34 million fiber-optic line into Yellowstone's interior, dramatically improving connectivity in certain areas for mobile devices.

The proposal — still in its initial stages — comes as concession companies push for improved digital access in national parks including Arizona's Grand Canyon and Texas' Big Bend to Maine's Acadia.

Details on the Yellowstone proposal were obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility through a public record request. The group argues that bumping up the park's bandwidth will create more electronic distractions at the expense of the park's natural wonders.