Officials Urged To Let Local Utilities Cooperate On Providing Broadband - Chattanoogan.com: Mike Knotts, director of government affairs, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, brought a somewhat different perspective to the conversation when he said, “Advanced telecommunications will be as important to the next 100 years of electric system operation as steam power was to the first 100 years.”
He said the number one barrier to providing adequate Internet access is “purely customer density” and suggested looking at the model of rural electrification in the 1930s. “What cured the problem of rural electrification was the ability to create nonprofit entities that were able to amortize those expenses over much, much longer periods (than private companies). That was the very simple magic that took, in 10 years, less than 10 percent of American farms being electrified to 100 percent — not much more in the secret sauce other than that.”
Actually, Mr. Knotts, there is a another ingredient that's missing today: capital. Unlike today, in the 1930s the federal government stepped up with significant funding and not just talk, window dressing and "funding leads."