Commentary: The great rural America paradox
Many states across the nation are addressing rural technology challenges. One program in particular that is being utilized by many states is Connected Nation, a broadband adoption project to create connected communities. This program trains regional leaders how to work with their communities to secure more internet access and connect more people. They make up community planning teams that help groups engage in teaching computer classes, mentor older adults and help with online job searches.
It is Connected Nation’s philosophy that rural communities benefit through assessment, planning and self help, while citizens benefit through expanded access to relevant technology. Importantly, the private sector benefits from a more investment-friendly environment and increasingly tech-savvy consumers.
So, while rural America remains for many an idyllic land of open spaces and simpler ways of life, those who live there know the real deal. Access to basic services continues to be essential for rural communities and the competitiveness of our nation. Rural residents and their children shouldn’t be kept at a disadvantage by inadequate education, healthcare and business opportunities. It’s time to get past the paradox.