Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 8:48am
RURAL BROADBAND DROUGHT HURT ON RETAILER
[SOURCE: ComputerWorld, AUTHOR: Robert L. Mitchell]
[Commentary] The lack of broadband access in rural areas isn't just hurting individuals and small businesses. Even large retail chains, which often have stores in rural shopping centers, find that they can't get online. Consider the plight of Trans World Entertainment, which relies mostly on DSL services to link more than 1,000 music stores - including its Coconuts and f.y.e. chains - to its back-end systems. "Unfortunately, DSL isn't available everywhere yet, even in retail areas. Right now, about 17% [of store locations] can't get broadband," says CIO Robert Hinkle, noting that availability can be limited even in the major retail zones within rural areas. TWE stores that can't get broadband service now rely on slower frame relay connections, which Hinkle admits is a less than optimal solution. "It's just too darned expensive for the speed," he says, adding that he's looking for viable alternatives.
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