The Connected Nation Blog: White House Rural Council Promotes Expansion of Rural Broadband Access

Thursday, August 18, 2011

White House Rural Council Promotes Expansion of Rural Broadband Access

By Travis Lane, Research Analyst at Connected Nation

Last week, the White House Rural Council released a new report titled Jobs and Economic Security for Rural America which highlights the administration’s key accomplishments in rural communities, as well as the significant challenges that rural Americans still face. The report stresses the importance of expanding broadband access to rural communities, highlighting how broadband helps lower the costs for businesses and brings jobs to rural communities. According to the report, the USDA’s Broadband Initiatives Program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has created new or improved broadband service for 2.8 million households, reaching nearly 7 million people and 364,000 businesses across more than 300,000 square miles.

As part of that effort, Connected Nation has studied broadband’s impact on the rural business landscape. Connected Nation research across twelve states and territories shows that more than 160,000 businesses in America’s vulnerable rural communities still do not use broadband technology.

Addressing technology adoption gaps will require a concerted effort between the public and private sectors. Over the next several years, Connected Nation will continue to work with rural businesses, community anchor institutions, and community leaders to address the unique challenges to getting connected to high-speed Internet.

Are you a rural business owner utilizing high-speed broadband Internet? Or, are you on the other side of the digital divide, a business owner who lacks access to broadband? Let us know how technology has affected your rural business on Twitter or Facebook.