The seemingly poor broadband penetration in the United States, compared to that of other developed economies, is obviously cause for some consternation. There's a lot of debate about what it means, and nobody wants the country to be falling behind in an important area. At least part of this is probably due to the US' relatively spread out population, and the high number of people still living in relatively rural areas. Just as the telcos were slow to build out phone service in those areas, so too are they slow to build out broadband. This has many in these areas upset, worried that the lack of high-speed internet access will harm their economy, as employers and employees leave to greener pastures. But while we can certainly understand their frustration, broadband providers have a sound business reason for not building out infrastructure in sparsely populated regions. When you live in rural areas, there are tradeoffs you willingly accept, giving up some aspects of "city life" in exchange for the benefits living in the country provides. There's no reason to treat broadband as something seperate from this equation. If people want to maintain the rural lifestyle but still have high speed access to the 'net, perhaps they should explore alternatives, like paying for it themselves through taxes and adopting some form of muni broadband. It'd be expensive for them, to be sure, but ultimately someone has to pay for it.
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