The report said communities with broadband access experienced an additional 1 to 1.4 percent in their job growth rate between 1998 and 2002. Those communities also saw an added 0.5 to 1.2 percent growth rate in the number of businesses. Housing rents, measured as a proxy for property values, were more than 6 percent higher in 2000 in communities where broadband was available by 1999.
The good news is that people are doing something about it, but way more needs to be done.
Berkshire Connect Inc. and Pioneer Valley Connect are two projects that already bring businesses and institutions together so they can pool resources to buy expensive high-speed lines in places where major providers have no broadband networks. This fall, they will create WiFi hot spots in the towns of Florida, New Salem, and Worthington, with funding from the quasi-public John Adams Innovation Institute. The idea is to use radio transmitters to spread the signal from high-speed lines to create square-mile wireless broadband networks for homes, businesses, and municipal buildings, without the massive investment needed to wire every home.WiFi seems to be the answer: open, town-wide WiFi would both be cheaper and more efficient than laying down all the wires and paying private rates, but the Verizons of the world are resisting it and it takes a will to bring these kinds of services anywhere. A lot of people, who've never had high-speed internet, don't know what they're missing - but no one should have to wait 5 minutes to load a page and have no access at all to half the internet. The internet is the future and everyone should be invited.