Monday, June 22, 2009

What it's like inside a real rural broadband black hole

When it comes to the shortcomings of U.S. broadband infrastructure, mainstream media tend to paint with too broad a brush by describing the issue in stark urban and rural terms as if American settlement patterns were still like those of the 1930s and 1940s.

They also inaccurately reinforce stereotypes that people in urban areas have access to broadband while those in rural areas often don't. Wrong. There are plenty of folks in the semi-rural America, the exurbs, suburbs and even some in Silicon Valley who lack wireline advanced telecommunications services due to incomplete infrastructure buildout over the last mile.

The difference is in rural areas, the broadband black holes tend to cover far larger geographical areas. Here's an excerpt from an article in USA Today that describes what it's like inside one of those truly rural broadband black holes:

"A lot of people think rural America is where the road narrows from four lanes to two lanes," says Cubley, who grew up on a farm in East Texas. "Rural America is where you drive off the gravel road to get to the farm house; it's where you have to get in a car and drive to visit your neighbors," he says. "Millions of people live that way. And they need broadband just like everybody else."

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