Friday, February 20, 2009

Broadband stimulus might not provide enough "bang for buck"; effect on national service?

The Associated Press has a story by Peter Svensson, “Skepticism arises over rural broadband stimulus,” dated Feb. 19, 2009. The article was reprinted by the Washington Post online today.

There is a general feeling that in many areas, government stimulus would not necessarily result in a large increase in customers for telecommunications companies. There is a “bang for the buck” problem. There is a certain population subset that is not computer literate or interested. But reliable broadband could strengthen local rural businesses and employment.

A press release from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, from July 2008, is quite interesting. 55% percent of all Americans have broadband Internet at home, up from 42% in 2005. But among those not having it, lack of availability was fourth in the reasons given.

Broadband Internet availability could become an issue for national service initiatives. Many national service projects would take place in rural or low income areas, and “volunteers” expect and need service.

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