Providing broadband locally – with help from electric utilities – can be a good way to anchor rural economies.
Many rural communities, even if they have broadband, have too few broadband options. Rural communities just large enough to have two service providers yet too small to attract a third provider, let alone more, represent the middle ground of rural broadband that is often overlooked by both private and public investment.
Most communities of any density have incumbent telephone companies that offer DSL, which is borderline broadband. If a community is fortunate, it has a second wireline provider, the incumbent television company, which offers cable service and speeds that commonly meet the definition of broadband. The cable company, as the only true broadband option in town, is often characterized by high cost and poor customer responsiveness, which reflect this lack of competition. Subscribers in these small, rural communities pay more for service that is inferior to broadband services available to larger communities. Continue reading “Buy Local (Including Broadband)”