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The Future of Small Towns: Idea Generator
Categories : People : Economic opportunity : Human services : Telecommunications : Transportation : Social/cultural opportunities : Education : Government & policy : Other
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Do you have an idea about the future of small towns? Are the ideas you see not quite hitting the mark? Propose your own idea for the future of small towns!

The Basics

Rural economic development relies heavily on telecommunication services such as phone, television and internet. Rural residents usually have the same access to telecommunications services like high-speed internet as metro residents. But they are less likely to use "broadband" internet connections.

What the Experts Say

A rural disconnect
Surprisingly, rural residents were more likely to have access to high speed internet than urban residents in 2002. So why are fewer interested in using it? [Source 1, Source 2]

Community technology investments pay dividends
Internet and communication experts suggest rural towns should invest in better communication technology like high-speed internet and technology to make communications cheaper and more efficient, and making the community more economically competitive. [Source 1]

More from MPR:
Document Rural 'digital divide' reversed
Document High speed Internet extending its reach in rural Minnesota
Document Rural Homes Being Linked by Fiber-Optic Cable
Document The Impact of Technology on Rural Minnesota
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Ideas for: Telecommunications

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4 rating
(1 vote)
The state should lead development of high-speed broadband
The State of Minnesota should take the lead in encouraging and enabling the deployment of true high-speed broadband (100+ Mgbs).

Incumbent providers should be given the first opportunity to meet ... Read more

From Jim Erickson of Minneapolis, MN on 06/13/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry

2 rating
(1 vote)
Offer loans for wireless constuction
An REA (Rural Electric Association) type low interest loan program to stimulate interest in providing wireless services to rural areas for both cellular and internet is needed.

Tower construction... Read more

From Wayne Holt of Fosston, MN on 06/07/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry

4 rating
(1 vote)
More fiber please, or high-speed Internet for all
I believe the availability of high-speed internet to homes, business and schools will promote growth in all areas. To take advantage of this, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission should set a goa... Read more

From Avery Timm of Brooklyn Park, MN on 05/21/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry

3.5 rating
(2 votes)
Create reality TV on local access channels
Move over Hollywood! How many small communities have local access channels? Little Falls does and the technology is getting better. What we need is more programming. This would be a great chance f... Read more

From Mary Warner of Little Falls, MN on 05/13/05

2 comments | Vote/comment on this entry

4.5 rating
(8 votes)
Bring wireless Internet to small towns
Expanding broadband access in small towns can open up a world of telecommuting and expand business opportunites. However, making homes in a small town broadband-ready by wired solutions seems awfully... Read more

From Jared Frandson of Minneapolis, MN on 05/12/05

8 comments | Vote/comment on this entry

3 rating
(1 vote)
Develop municipally owned broadband
I think local governments should develop their own broadband systems. Why should the money flow out of the community to big corporations when a local government can do the job at a lower cost. It wo... Read more

From Sanda Oslin of Sturgeon Lake, MN on 05/12/05

1 comment | Vote/comment on this entry

5 rating
(12 votes)
Build a municipally owned fiber optic network
Windom City Leaders realized several years ago the local telephone provider was not going to upgrade their system and provide high speed internet/data communications to the residents or business in Wi... Read more

From James King of Windom, MN on 05/11/05

12 comments | Vote/comment on this entry

4.5 rating
(11 votes)
Formulate a Rural Broadband Act
Many of our small towns have yet to witness an affordable broadband (not just 128k high speed) options.

The Rural Electrification Act provided an opportunity to fill in market gaps of electrical ... Read more

From Ben Winchester of Hancock, MN on 05/09/05

10 comments | Vote/comment on this entry

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