The Broadband Stimulus Program was established as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The goal of the act was to create a robust economy and assist the country as it rebounded from the losses incurred during the Great Recession. In rural areas, the stimulus program aimed to increase access to global markets, improve education and create an adaptable workforce, providing those in rural areas with a base from which to grow economic vitality.
Those in urban areas might take their broadband infrastructure for granted, never realizing the extent to which rural regions of Virginia and other areas of the country lack access to broadband. Many rural counties and towns lack the infrastructure necessary to connect homes and businesses to broadband. The cost is too great for local-level economies to absorb. The problem is compounded when private investors and broadband carriers fail to recognize the potential economic viability of broadband in rural districts. Prior to the Broadband Stimulus Program, private entities believed that low-populated areas were risky and never could create a return on the expense needed to create a functional high-speed broadband infrastructure from the ground up.
Telecommunication companies themselves are beneficiaries of improved broadband throughout rural areas. Not only are they able to tap into an otherwise untouched demographic, but they are able to start from the ground up, build a loyal customer base and take advantage of the benefits offered through the stimulus plan. Those benefits include infrastructure incentives and low-cost investment opportunities. As telecommunication companies expand, they offer local residents the opportunity to wire homes and businesses and gain company employment.
Increased access to broadband is vital for economic development. Not only does broadband nurture local businesses by providing access to the global market, but it also attracts businesses to the area. Young businesses can grow in rural counties without losing their competitive edge and without paying the expense of living and working in a high-density urban area. Start-ups are able to use teleconference networks to meet with out-the-area-clients or send large digital files to partners and project managers.
The growth of the cloud offers the chance for businesses to grow in any location, the only barrier being the ability to download and upload information quickly and seamlessly. A broadband network takes full advantage of cloud technologies. In addition, broadband closes the gaps in cellular communication for rural areas, providing needed back-up services in the event of emergencies or disasters.
Small towns throughout the U.S. are finding it necessary to diversify their economies. A diverse economy limits the number of people leaving town and offers a higher quality of life for those who remain in the area. Once wiring and connectivity infrastructure are complete, hospitals can better serve patients through remote appointments. Schools can connect students to online learning opportunities and businesses can compete effectively with those in other regions of the world.
Businesses of all stripes rely on technology in ways never imagined only thirty years ago. Agribusinesses rely on data-monitoring of weather, market information and yields. Healthcare providers and local clinics can improve care through direct connections with major hospitals and service providers. Real estate offices can better market their properties to a wider audience. Remote work opportunities are available for those who are location-bound. An influx of capital into a rural area improves services and reinvigorates communities hit hard by a global market.
Rural businesses are seeing a turn-over, with younger demographics taking on the responsibilities of previous generations. The tech-savvy entrepreneurs in the hinterlands of the U.S. are ready to bring their businesses to the next level with the help of improved broadband access.
Access to broadband increases distance education programs and grows a strong pool of local talent.
Visit https://tidewaternews.com for more breaking news.