Podcast: Bridging the Digital Divide Across Rural America

This episode of the Building Local Power podcast focuses on the the importance of connectivity in rural America and the barriers to high-quality local investment. Hosted by Nick Stumo-Langer, the conversation includes and researchers from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance Hannah Trostle and Christopher Mitchell. The group discuss a number of topics, including how electric cooperatives are changing the dynamics on who gets connectivity in the U.S. and the hurdles to rural connectivity. This includes the millions of federal dollars that go to large companies such as AT&T and Century Link instead of small, local providers or municipalities to invest in their own infrastructure.

"They're giving out billions of dollars and they're spending it on some of the worst products," says Mitchell. "You look at what AT&T is doing, AT&T is going to be getting $2.5 billion from the federal government to expand rural access. The speeds they are going to deliver, obsolete. The prices are $60 to $70 per month for this very slow service that has data caps. It's awful."

About ILSR: We work to create sustainable, home-grown economies across the U.S. New episodes of the Building Local Power podcast are published bi-weekly on Thursdays. Sign up for new podcast notifications and monthly email updates from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Click here for a full transcript of this podcast conversation. Audio: Funk Interlude by Dysfunction_AL Ft: Fourstones – Scomber (Bonus Track) [Copyright 2016]. 

Header photos by woodleywonderworks via Flickr