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The Myth of Rural Broadband

March 26, 2009

Something about all this Great Depression talk really has folks in an FDR state of mind. Take the breathless chatter regarding the supposed shortage of rural broadband internet.

WICHITA, Kan. (AP)–With the nation in the grip of the Great Depression, then-President Franklin Roosevelt used rural electrification as part of his New Deal relief package–gambling that supplying isolated farmsteads with inexpensive power would modernize agriculture, create jobs and stimulate the rural economy.
Decades later, President Barack Obama is placing the same bet by setting aside billions in the stimulus package for rural broadband Internet access–a move farming advocates say will help farmers work more efficiently, manage their operations and connect growers who work on land many miles from the nearest town.
“There are people in Kansas who are alive today who can remember what it was like when rural electrification came to their home,” said Mike Matson, spokesman for the Kansas Farm Bureau. “It was a game changer in terms of the way they lived their life and the way they operated their farm. The broadband component has that same potential to have that same level of change.”
The stimulus bill provides $7.2 billion for grants, loans and loan guarantees to expand broadband Internet access, mostly for under served rural areas.

The above piece goes on to talk about how wonderful broadband would be, and how “under served” rural areas are, then it goes on to talk about a young farmer that paid to have broadband installed. Wait, how can he be “under served” if the service was available? Yeah, it’s going to be more expensive than urban broadband, and there are undoubtedly fewer options. But isn’t that a cost of him choosing to live where he does? The same article champions government efforts to expand broadband and holds up Kentucky as a poster child for such ventures. Plus Kansas officials are excited about the new funds, using the same tiresome New Deal allegories. Funny thing, when you compare the states on farm broadband status via the 2007 Census Of Agriculture, Kansas appears to have a higher percentage of young farm boys downloading online porn. And in the end, isn’t that what this is really about, porn?
Huh, the traditionally most remote states have the highest rates of on farm broadband. That can’t be right….

Image courtesy of Farm Journal.


From → Nation, Uncategorized

One Comment
  1. Matthew permalink

    As the map shows, down where I’m from there is no landline broadband.

    So everyone’s networked farm equipment has to run via satellite. INJUSTICE! Although truth be told, as far as the Stimulus Package is concerned, this really can’t get me going. It’s a fuckton better than most of the shit.

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