Broadband is the answer of a rural economic revival in the United States. Or so thinks Nortel CEO Bill Owens, who believes unless the US government gets its broadband act together, US will start lagging behind broadband believers like China. “If rural America does not have ready access to this information and the infrastructure on which it is delivered, we will see the gap in opportunity and prosperity widen between rural and urban America,” Owens said. He think special tax breaks for carriers who provide broadband in the boonies and feels that we need to get “Setting a goal to bring at least 10 to 20 Mbps of bandwidth to every subscriber in America in the near term and 100 megabits within the next decade.” I could not agree more. My story, Escape from Silicon Valley highlighted some start-ups who are finding success in off-the-beaten towns. Imagine, if this could spread to small hamlets and tiny villages in rural US. “We don’t have our minds in the highest levels of government. In places like China they know that they’re going to win and they have a plan,” Owen adds.
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I never understand this. No one says that it is the governments job to ensure that every rural town has a local bank branch or a starbucks etc. People chose to live in rural areas. Along with the choice comes gains and losses. Gains such as larger property, quieter life. Losses such as decreased retail choice, less Internet access choice. Everyone makes trade-offs in life. It’s not up to the government to counterbalance the losses with policy.