January 31, 2011    /    by

Progress on Wiring Rural America for High Speed Internet

A quiet, but dramatic, change is well under way in rural America. Over the next two years, Broadband Internet access will become available to many parts of the United States that have been struggling with only dial-up connectivity up until now

A quiet, but dramatic, change is well under way in rural America. Over the next two years, broadband Internet access will become available in many parts of the United States that have been struggling in the digital age. These areas currently have limited high-speed access that is affordable, and many areas have no online connectivity or slow dial-up speeds.

USA Today ran a major article on this topic following President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week. The story is entitled: Stimulus funds help wire rural homes for Internet. The focus is on our new digital infrastructure which is vital for new 21st century jobs, health care and more.

The president said,  "To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods and information — from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet."

No doubt, federal stimulus projects have been very controversial and have become political hot buttons. (I’m staying out of those debates in this blog.) Still, there are plenty of tools and charts that I find helpful in showing what’s happening or happened. Here are a few:

1)    Recovery.gov maps website – lists contracts, grants and loans by state and region
2)    USA Today Economic Stimulus Charts – summarizes jobs create and saved, funds awarded, funds received and unemployment rate by state – although the data is a bit dated
3)    Stimulus.org – listing of details on various stimulus programs
4)    Broadband USA website  – you can find plenty more details on broadband infrastructure projects by visiting this government website.
5)    Broadband Stimulus Resource Center by Adtran – an assortment of articles and updates on broadband stimulus projects.

While some individuals are calling for even more projects, stimulus spending is fading and any efforts to add new spending will likely run into trouble with the Congress. But for now, it’s important to keep track of progress on existing grant awards and plans in your state to expand broadband into rural America.

Any thoughts on broadband stimulus?