I hit on broadband a lot – this one is a good story.
In Mississippi, the state government used some of their federal stimulus money from March to focus on broadband. Partnering with rural electric co-ops – those private, independent electric utilities owned by the members – and invested in broadband. These organizations wanted to expand and had been preparing to do so, but lacked the cash.
The result? A push to spend the money within a year, and new expectation that the state may be one of the most connected in the next five to six years. Last year? The state ranked 42 out of 50, and at least 35% of rural residents lack broadband.
Why do we care?
Case studies in broadband as utility – and likely the hybrid approach necessary to solve the rural divide here. This is infrastructure money spent well. The government invests the cash into the project. The co-op builds a business model to run it and ensure it doesn’t loose money. The customers get the advancement of being connected. New markets are opened up to serve.
It’s exactly what I’ve been preaching. Don’t buy the line that it can’t be done.