BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Our friend Craig Settles probes the question: How can rural areas get better broadband? Equally important, he provides some concrete examples of where and how it is happening.
Broadband and Rural Economices – Maybe Small is Better | Rural communities should set realistic goals for how broadband will affect the economy. Even small changes can make a big difference, says broadband consultant Craig Settles in Daily Yonder.
In the early 2000s, one of the benefits of community broadband that excited rural and small town America was the prospect of getting midsize and large companies to locate a facility in these towns and brings of hundreds of jobs. That dream persists, but it might unrealistic or counterproductive to some small communities.
“Many broadband policymakers live in large metropolitan areas and this shapes their perceptions that the main outcomes should produce hundreds of jobs,” says Don Sidlowsky, former town chairman of Three Lakes, Wisconsin. Though retired, he keeps a finger on the broadband pulse of his community.
For a town his size, a business bringing three or four new jobs into the community is a big deal economically. “Every dollar they spend might exchange hands in town eight or nine times,” Sidlowsky says.
While it is nice to have big dreams, some rural stakeholders find that it is better overall to temper economic expectations. But that doesn’t mean rural Americans want to skimp on speed.