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Wired and Wireless Broadband: What's at Stake for Rural Communities?

Wired and Wireless Broadband: What's at Stake for Rural Communities?

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Published by MAG-Net
On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, the Center for Media Justice brought together 20 individuals from 17 organizations
across the country to examine the role of wired and wireless broadband access in rural communities, discuss what’s
at stake in broadband policy, and determine what can be done to improve policy conditions through collaborative
advocacy.
On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, the Center for Media Justice brought together 20 individuals from 17 organizations
across the country to examine the role of wired and wireless broadband access in rural communities, discuss what’s
at stake in broadband policy, and determine what can be done to improve policy conditions through collaborative
advocacy.

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Published by: MAG-Net on Jul 18, 2011
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05/28/2013

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 This report is published by the Center or Media Justice (CMJ), based on the discussions at the 2011 Rural BroadbandListening Session. Permission is granted to use, copy, distribute, adapt, remix, and/or modiy the contents o thisdocument or noncommercial purposes. Please cite the Center or Media Justice as the original source i distributingor reusing sections, pages, images, or the whole booklet. Please contact CMJ, i possible, to let us know how you areusing and reusing the material—we welcome your eedback. This report was written by CMJ Policy Director and Policy Fellow with New America Foundation’s Open TechnologyInitiative, amalia deloney, based on note-taking and/or acilitation by Leticia Medina, Steven Renderos, EdyaelCasaperalta, and Fabiola Carrion.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United StatesLicense. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 444 Castro Street, Suite 900, Mountain View, California, 94041, USA.
 WIRED AND WIRELESSBRODBND:
What’s at Stake for Rural Communities?
Published online and in print by the Center or Media Justice, July 2011. The Center or Media Justice436 14th Street, Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612wwww.centerormediajustice.orgphone: 510-698-3800email: ino@centerormediajustice.org
 
1
Wired and Wireless Broadband: What’s at Stake for Rural Communities?
Introduction
From June 28-30, more than 300 rural leaders rom across the United States met in St. Paul, MN, or the 2011National Rural Assembly. The event included work sessions, roundtables, networking opportunities, and panelpresentations or stakeholders who represented the diversity o rural America in geography, race/ethnicity, andpublic policy interests. Participants strategized about how to create a nation where rural communities can thrive andcontribute to the nation’s success.
Rural Broadband Listening Session
On Tuesday, June 28, 2011, the Center or Media Justice brought together 20 individuals rom 17 organizationsacross the country to examine the role o wired and wireless broadband access in rural communities, discuss what’sat stake in broadband policy, and determine what can be done to improve policy conditions through collaborativeadvocacy. The session, held prior to the National Rural Assembly, was designed to address the unique conditions that ruralcommunities ace and encourage participants to:
•
Consider the conditions created by existing broadband policy in rural communities
•
Investigate the social impacts o existing broadband policy on rural communities
•
Identiy community-based strategies or change
•
Create a broad and intersectional base o support to address wired and wireless broadband issues
Rural Needs and Assets
What Rural Organizations Need to Address Wired/Wireless Broadband Inequity 
•
Research that illustrates the predatory practice o media and telecommunications corporations in ruralcommunities
•
Materials and curriculum that tie media policy/telecom issues to core quality-o-lie concerns such as education,health care, employment, and public saety
•
 A clear communication channel with D.C. policy makers and regulatory bodies that oversee policy arenas thataect rural communities
•
Geographically relevant and community-specifc inormation on the impact o media/telecom policy in rural areas
•
Quantitative data rom well-respected research institutions that demonstrates the economic impact o aordablebroadband adoption in ways that can be shared with elected ofcials
•
Funding to develop and launch coordinated statewide campaigns or sustainable broadband adoption
•
Model legislation designed or county-level implementation in small towns and rural communities
•
More opportunities to bring together underserved and unserved rural and urban communities to innovatecollaborative solutions to similar issues
Rural Communities’ Existing Assets and Strengths
•
Community members and institutions who understand that a healthy digital ecology is directly tied to the survivalo rural communities
•
Local and diverse broadband networks (i.e., nonproft, municipal)
•
Community anchor institutions that are invested in the health and well-being o the community
•
Stories o what’s working and what’s not working
•
 Trusted relationships with community institutions and local elected and appointed ofcials
•
Deep commitment to local sel-reliance and ownership
 
2
Wired and Wireless Broadband: What’s at Stake for Rural Communities?
Strategic Breakout Session Report Back
Following our popular education activity, participants were divided into two breakout groups that provided time andspace or participants to identiy the conditions created by existing broadband policy in rural areas, investigate thesocial impacts o those conditions, and identiy geographically relevant community-based strategies or change.Below are some o the top-level discoveries rom the breakout groups.
What’s at Stake
•
Quality health care
•
Next Generation Emergency Services (NGES)
•
Sustainable employment
•
Civic participation
•
Business/workorce training and education
•
 Access to inormation
•
Rural enterprise and micro-business development
•
Community connections/cohesion
•
 Access to government services
•
Quality education
•
Small town/city government efciency
•
Rural community survival
Challenges
•
State legislation that prohibits municipal broadbandnetworks
•
State eligibility requirements or broadband unding
•
Universal Service Fund eligibility
•
Cost
•
Complexity o ederal unding process
•
Uneven ederal unding distribution
•
Right-o-way issues
•
Limited inrastructure
•
Lack o choice and competition
•
Low digital literacy
What Can Communities Do?
•
Increase public involvement
•
Join state broadband task orces and commissions
•
Secure technical assistance rom trusted providers
•
Connect broadband inrastructure to workorcedevelopment
•
 Advocate or policy at state and county level
•
 Advocate or comprehensive state strategies
•
Highlight rural success stories
•
Educate local ofcials on telecommunications/ internet issues

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