Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 10:10am
THE BROADBAND DIVIDE: RURAL ACCESS LAGS FAR BEHIND CITIES
[SOURCE: Center for American Progress, AUTHOR: Mark Lloyd]
In testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Appropriations, contrasted the rosy dream of the Digital Age -- bringing the advantages of the city to the country -- to the ugly nightmare -- new information technologies increasing the advantages of urban and suburban America and deepen the disadvantages of small towns and rural America. Whether we realize the dream or the nightmare will not be because of computer engineers or the free market. Public policy makers will choose either the promise or the nightmare. Public policy makers will choose between a widening digital divide or an investment in our small towns and country lanes. Connecting all Americans to the most advanced communications service is important for business, health care, education, our public safety, and especially for civic participation. We should be concerned about connecting rural Americans not because of some soft idealized dream of country life and not because rural Americans represent a need. Our federal policies should recognize the very real contributions rural Americans make to our nation, and the fact that we must find a way to continue to tap into this vital resource for our own collective good. And just as extended mail service, the highways, and electric service paid off for America, we must extend high-speed telecommunications service so that the world has an opportunity to see and hear and benefit from rural America.