BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: Broadband is the baseline for economic development: If you don't have the former, you won't have the latter. And for Rural America, this is doubly true. (Read all the way through the article to understand how "Broadband, Bluegrass and Beer" makes it all happen.) It's great to see these great results coming out of the Rural Innovation Initiative. Or, in other words, why better broadband is more than just Netflix. ;->
High-speed internet connections and innovative leadership are resulting in economic boons for small towns and rural areas. The Rural Innovation Initiative recognizes nine such communities around the United States. From Daily Yonder:
More than a decade ago, a group of people from Independence, Oregon, asked legacy telecommunications corporations to bring high-speed fiber internet connectivity to their rural community. “They told us ‘we’ll get to you in 10 or 20 years,’” said Shawn Irvine, economic development director for the City of Independence.
“So we got together and decided to just do it ourselves,” Irvine said. “We didn’t want to wait.”
Independence, a town of about 10,000 on the Willamette River, built its own fiber-to-home broadband system, MINET. Today, 85% of local residents subscribe to the municipal utility.
Independence is one of nine communities selected to participate in the 2019 Rural Innovation Initiative. The initiative will help small towns like Independence use their existing high-quality broadband to create more economic opportunity.