Broadband is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Affordable broadband is a building block for healthy communities. But less than half of rural adults have access to broadband at home, while two-thirds of metropolitan adults do. As the Internet becomes crucial in economics, education, and civic life, communities that are left behind pay a higher price for their lack of access. The Center for Rural Strategies supports policies and programs that expand access to broadband for all Americans, especially those who are marginalized by geography, economics, and other circumstances. Affordable access and widespread training will help rural communities thrive and contribute to the nation's health and well-being.

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Lack of broadband is crippling

A new report written by University of Texas – Austin researcher Sharon Strover says that rural areas that don't have broadband access will be economically crippled.

Strover gathered a panel of economists to discuss the impact of broadband deployment in rural areas. She found that while broadband access probably won't automatically create jobs for rural communities, places that lack access will be at a severe disadvantage.

"Broadband will not bring immediate economic transformation to rural America," she wrote. "But regions that lack broadband will be crippled."
Dr. Strover adapted her report for publication in our online news journal, the Daily Yonder. The report was also covered by WMMT-Whitesburg, KY. (download an MP3 of the report). Download a complete copy of the report.

Other scholars who participated in the roundtable on rural broadband are Kenneth Flamm (University of Texas – Austin), Amy Glasmeier (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Shane Greenstein (Northwestern University), and William Lehr (MIT).

This research was supported by a grant from the Media Democracy Fund.

Rural groups support media diversity in comments to the FCC

The Center for Rural Strategies has joined organizations and individuals from around the country asking the Federal Communications Commission to make increased diversity in broadcast and broadband media a higher priority.

Read more on the Rural Strategies blog.

Rural Broadband Policy Group

The Rural Broadband Policy Group is a national coalition of rural broadband advocates that seeks to articulate broadband policies that provide opportunities for rural communities.

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