Thursday, April 23, 2009

"A Tale of Two Cities": Two SW Virginia towns have different experiences with rural broadband

Cecilia Kang has a front-page story in the April 23 Washington Post about the variable results of investing in broadband in rural areas. The story title is “Rural Riddle: Do Jobs Follow Broadband Access?: Two Hamlets That Got High-Speed Lines Show Wildly Different Results”, and the link is here.

Our “tale of two cities” involves Lebanon, and then even farther to the SW along Route 58 in Virginia, Rose Hill. Lebanon attracted a number of high paying jobs with Northrop Grumman and the software vendor CGI; Rose Hill only got a few more home-based businesses.

Still, I wonder if we will be able to view broadband as a basic utility, like electricity itself. Remember how electricity developed in rural areas in the 1930s.

That part of Virginia jets way out to the west, toward Cumberland Gap, into coal mining country, as in the recent independent film “Bonecrusher”.

I last visited the area in July 2005.

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