Mar 30, 2018
John chats with Jessica Golden, Executive Director of the Foundation for Rural Service, and Josh Seidemann, a policy specialist at the NTCA—The Rural Broadband Association, which represents about 850 community-based broadband providers who started as telephone companies and now offer broadband, Internet and wireless services to rural communities. These broadband communities are more sociologically driven and “go where others don’t or won’t go” in representing almost 40 percent of the land mass of the United States. There’s a rural-rural divide in broadband, according to Seidemann, which centers on differences between publicly traded broadband companies serving rural areas with larger densities and smaller, community-based firms that serve less populated areas. FRS is a non-profit whose mission is to advance the quality of life in American life, offering programs in economic development, including grants on telemedicine and opioid initiatives. FRS also recently released a significant study, A Cyber Economy, the Transactional Value of the Internet in Rural America, which found that rural and urban areas had similar percentages of Internet business usage (www.frs.org). This finding helps to justify investing in broadband expansion for homes in rural areas. According to Golden, engaging youth is vital to the future, and FRS is now involved heavily on this issue. The guests also discussed the Smart Rural Community Initiative (www.ntca.org/smart), which includes important programs, such as telemedicine offerings, for rural America.