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life in rural nebraska

Small Wyoming town at the epicenter of global education

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This article comes from our buddy Mike Feeken in St. Paul, NE.  Ten Sleep Wyoming, population 350, is at the epicenter of global education.  Utilizing access to a fiber optics, a local business has created 700 home-based jobs that teach 15,000 Korean students English.

What blows my mind is how our elected leaders can continue to argue on whether or not broadband connectivity has any impact on innovation and job growth in rural areas.  Broadband today is just as important and stimulative as the Interstate highway system in the 1950s. I hate to play the generation card, but I honestly don’t believe many of our elected leaders have an inkling on how foundational internet connectivity is future economic growth.  It does not predicate economic development – internet connectivity is both infrastructure and a tool to spread innovation and ideas much more quickly than human beings have done before.  Lack of access means lack of opportunity – its up to sharp minds to take advantage of the resource.  Ten Sleep is one example of that.

Opponents of the spending in rural communities state such efforts are a waste of funds when other priority items are necessary to address.  The same sort of banter was used back in the 1930s to argue against rural electrification as well.

Rural broadband is necessary, period.  I sense the ugliness around this conversation stems from attitudes in urban communities that continue to discount the importance rural communities are to their viability. The rapid rise in food costs last summer was testament enough to this phenomena.  As long as urban communities ignore the needs of rural, they are not only limiting rural America, they’re limiting themselves.

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Written by Caleb

February 20, 2009 at 9:21 pm

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