How Fiber Broadband Serves Rural America
How Fiber Broadband Serves Rural America
Your neighbors at Wabash Communications CO-OP understand that rural communities are a quintessential part of the American experience. And millions of Americans know that the friendly people and charms of country life make rural areas ideal places to raise a family. Indeed, over the last few years, hundreds of thousands of people have relocated from large cities to the cleaner air and amiable country lifestyle rural America offers.
But compared to urban and suburban portions of the country, rural America still lags well behind in one fundamental area—consistent access to high-speed broadband fiber internet service. And this lagging access can affect job growth, economic development, workforce retention, and even education and community health.
The Value of Fiber Broadband—and Rural America’s Need to Catch-up
According to a 2019 study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 18 million rural Americans lack access to high-speed broadband internet. Other estimates from respected sources put the number at over 40 million Americans. Thus, unfortunately, there are underserved people and businesses in small towns and Tribal lands across the country and in every region.
Rural broadband internet is critical to bridging that opportunity gap and improving country living. Whole communities can be revitalized and invigorated with fiber internet technology, improving communications and connectivity to the global economy. Schools of all grade levels through technical colleges and trade schools, as well as universities, can provide more programs, services, and training through broadband, reaching more people and promoting rural development.
Indeed, broadband high-speed internet is as essential community service in the twenty-first century as electricity, telephone or even water and other utilities! And Wabash Communications CO-OP is proud to be a part of revitalizing our community and rural America by providing, fast, reliable fiber broadband internet to its people and businesses.
Below are just some of the ways fiber broadband serves rural America and helps make it an even better place to live.
Faster and More Reliable Internet Means Greater Economic Growth and More Jobs
Increased access to high-speed internet, such as the fiber internet provided by Wabash Communications CO-OP, is linked to boosting local job opportunities and economic growth. Through reliable broadband, local businesses like farms and artisans can reach customers well beyond their communities—even around the world.
And high-speed internet lets these rural businesses more readily access goods and services that their competitors in larger metropolitan areas can already easily access. So bridging the broadband divide also helps grow and diversify the supply chain and squelch the overall economic gap between urban and rural areas, too.
Additionally, rural broadband helps keep younger talent in their communities, rather than seeing them move away to larger cities. Because so many of today’s careers require access to reliable internet in order to conduct business, companies can—and do—hire talented people around the country and let them work where they already live, including remotely from home—as long as there is a reliable, fast internet connection. In this way, rural high-speed internet helps keep communities together and whole.
High-Speed Internet Helps Deliver Health Care to Rural Communities
As the COVID-19 global pandemic demonstrated, timely access to quality health care and medical interventions can make all the difference in saving lives and mitigating long-term health problems. But while cities and suburbs had greater access to health care facilities—including online medical care—rural communities do not have anywhere near the same level of access to such vital services.
Bridging the broadband divide helps eliminate that fundamental disparity, and brings life-saving and life-changing health care to patients, as well. Telehealth providers, which grew exponentially during the pandemic, depend on reliable, high-speed internet to appropriately interview and assess patients and their immediate needs. And patient portals and electronic media files and records, which are often large files containing extensive medical imagery, require broadband to quickly transmit their essential information to physicians and patients alike.
Thus, rural fiber broadband helps level the playing field for all health care consumers, regardless of where they live. And it helps keep rural and Tribal families healthy and provides peace of mind that their medical needs can be better met and served.
Relocation, Relocation, Relocation: Broadband Helps Turn Around Rural Communities
The flight of younger people from rural America is not a new story. It’s been happening for over a century, as bright and industrious students and workers seek to build their careers “where the jobs are”—i.e., in cities and metropolitan areas.
Rural broadband is helping reverse that trend, however, through a more recent economic and social phenomenon: relocation.
Relocation is centered on the idea that in today’s innovative economy, just about anyone can live and work from just about anywhere—anywhere there is reliable high-speed internet, that is. So for the millions of Americans yearning for the virtues of rural country living and its high quality of life, communities with rural broadband offer options for relocation to a town or village from which to work, raise their families, and live their lives.
And relocation, through broadband internet service and other economic enticements, helps recruit talented younger people and reinvigorate communities that have been slowly dwindling away decade after decade. In essence, relocation is the reverse of the trend of moving away from rural areas—with broadband, people are now choosing to relocate and settle in rural America!
At Wabash Communications CO-OP we believe that South Central Illinois is a truly special place to live and work. And we are honored that our cutting-edge fiber broadband technology is expanding our community’s horizons and helping its people and small businesses realize their dreams and thrive in the decades to come.
To learn more about how Wabash Communications CO-OP’s high-speed fiber internet enriches your community and helps make you more productive, follow our social pages!