Why The US Needs a Rural Tech Boom: One of the things included in the recent infrastructure bill that was passed is $65 billion to help bring broadband internet to areas in the country that might not have the best connection or that might not have a connection at all.
If more people have access to broadband internet, then it could begin to close the gap between homes that have had access to the service and have seen successes and those that are in rural areas and don’t have the same access to the internet and have sometimes failed at school or work.
Broadbandor satellite internet is an investment that’s more of a necessity instead of a luxury as it was when it was first introduced. Only a few years ago in 2017, about a quarter of the people living in rural areas in the country had no access to internet services at all. However, money isn’t the only thing that’s needed to bridge the digital divide. There’s a myth or two about rural areas in the country that needs to be addressed along with the money that’s needed. Some companies believe that rural areas aren’t capable of supporting the technology needed for broadband connections. This is far from the truth as many small towns do have access to internet services, but they aren’t broadband or satellite, which means that the connections are slow. In order for rural areas to thrive and succeed, there needs to be a change in this kind of attitude so that everyone can come together to establish the connection that’s needed.
Although the COVID pandemic brought many issues to light concerning the broadband divide in the country, the issue has been present for several years. From 2014 to 2018, there was significant growth in the economy in the country. More people were working, and unemployment rates were among the lowest that they had been in years. However, in rural areas, about 43% saw unemployment growth that was negative. Almost half of the businesses in rural areas saw a decrease in business income or saw businesses closing compared to those that were opening and thriving in urban areas. One of the reasons why rural areas didn’t perform as well as urban areas are that they didn’t have the technology needed to thrive.
When you look at the money that’s been invested in technology across the country, there’s been about $2 trillion spent in areas that include equipment and jobs. There are about 12 million jobs in the technology industry and businesses that comprise about 10% of the economy in the United States. Even though about 15% of the country’s population lives in rural areas, they only contribute to about 5% of the jobs in the technology industry because of the lack of broadband service that’s available.
These details could indicate that the prophecy about rural areas getting behind and staying behind could be true. There could be certain cities that are set up for success because of the money that’s spent on technology in those areas compared to what’s being done in rural areas. This is a time when the country can’t afford to go backward. Instead, many companies want to see a tech boom so that more people can get on the same level when it comes to working, communicating, and going to school.
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