asymmetric digital subscriber line -- which takes advantage of the fact that bandwidth and distance are inversely related. According to the TIA, the RADSL-based solution adjusts dynamically to varying lengths and signal qualities.

Unique solutions have also popped up in foreign countries. In May, Samsung Electronics announced the launch of its largest social program outside Korea, called Samsung DigitAll Hope. The program will donate $600,000 to organizations supporting technology use to bridge the digital divide. The program is being simultaneously launched in eight countries: India, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.

Meanwhile, British Telecom and regional development agencies recently launched a pilot broadband deployment project called actnow (Access for Cornwall through Telecommunications to New Opportunities Worldwide). Already demand has proven high enough to likely extend the program to seven more UK areas, including Edinburgh, Glasgow and West Sussex. The project could bring an extra 45,000 residents and small businesses within broadband's reach.

No matter how broadband gets to rural areas, Seiffert said the key is simply that it gets there.

"There is quite a bit of build-out to be done for Americans in rural environments, and they should not be left behind," he said. "Broadband is not in rural areas, because there are market barriers, regulatory barriers and economic barriers. Whether those are overcome through legislation or regulatory agencies or grants or whatever, we support that activity."

Justine Brown  |  Contributing Writer