Jessica Duzan-Johnson, Casey, IL Area
Broadband is key to economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurial activity. In rural America, Broadband produces a level playing field for existing businesses and new business to be competitive. With Broadband, small businesses in rural America can connect and compete anywhere in the world.
So who’s the winner? In my opinion, who doesn’t win? If this initiative is supported by both private sector funds (existing area telephone providers) and public funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), and we as rural Americans consider our livelihood and the livelihood of future rural generations just as important as the livelihood of city folk, then are we then playing on a more level playing field?
If Broadband is introduced to rural America, we as city organizers/planners can recruit potential companies to locate their businesses here. If our infrastructure can support growth, then let’s grow. With Broadband installation and access in our rural communities, we have even stronger capabilities of recruiting business. We have greater capabilities of ensuring our youth with technological education. We have greater capabilities of transmitting trade electronically. We have greater capabilities. Growth.
If we don’t have Broadband to help support our communities, I feel we will be left in the dust. Other communities will be better prepared to write for grant funding, recruit business to locate in their area – providing jobs, and educate their youth.
I look at Roosevelt’s response to the combating the effects of the Great Depression with the New Deal. One of the provisions of the New Deal was the formation and implementation of the Tennessee Valley Authority. Without the Tennessee Valley Authority, much of the Tennessee Valley would be without electricity to this day. Why? Because they were rural. There wasn’t a monetary incentive to provide the residents there with electricity. But because this provision was in place and the New Deal passed, the residents of Tennessee could have running water, electricity, heat in the winter, and means of transportation.
As a budding entrepreneur, I know through experience that the lack of Broadband in our rural communities really holds us back. Broadband is a portal to innovation, ideas, streamlining transfer of funds, and above all, communication. At a time when the economy is struggling, we need to take advantage of programs offered to us. We are not only competing with other rural Americans, we are now competing globally. More opportunities are out there, if only we are brave enough to take them.