Broadband Communities

MAR-APR 2016

BROADBAND COMMUNITIES is the leading source of information on digital and broadband technologies for buildings and communities. Our editorial aims to accelerate the deployment of Fiber-To-The-Home and Fiber-To-The-Premises.

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72 | BROADBAND COMMUNITIES | www.broadbandcommunities.com | MARCH/APRIL 2016 RURAL BROADBAND Unleashing Creativity Fueling the fres of rural broadband innovation can change the world for the good. By Frank Odasz / Lone Eagle Consulting and Rural Telecom Congress D estructive forces such as ISIS use the Internet – particularly social media – to market mindless violence to youth. However, the Internet can be equally efective at presenting an alternative worldview of life, liberty and happiness for all. People of goodwill must recognize that they have a global voice and a responsibility to speak out. Tey must fnd creative solutions to bring people together around actionable solutions to ensure the global public good. In fact, the global economic competitiveness of the United States depends on bringing all good people together to participate sustainably in the interconnected global economy. Two billion people are online now, and another 4 billion, mostly young and poor, are expected to be online by 2020 or soon thereafter. What will they learn to do, and what will they choose to do? It matters a great deal! Te global population coming online presents a multitrillion-dollar proft opportunity to U.S. companies. It also presents them with a moral and social obligation and a challenge to national and global security. SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING CAN PRESERVE THE RURAL LIFESTYLE Broadband and digital entrepreneurship can ofer new freedoms for those who cherish the rural lifestyle. Keeping current in times of dramatic economic and social change requires rural citizens and rural communities to learn more efective ways to collaborate. Tat's the only way to fnd out what works best for other rural folks like them. Rural citizens should ask whether their communities will choose to embrace their broadband opportunities before out-migration makes economic recovery unlikely. Access to education has historically been tied to economics: Tose who can't aford the cost don't get the benefts. Broadband changes all that. It gives people the opportunity to learn nearly anything for free – as long as they have learned to learn. What I love about rural and tribal cultures is the attention to quality of life, the outdoor amenities and the friendly folks who are not in too much of a rush to hold a conversation and share a laugh with anyone, anytime. However, rural culture sometimes encourages conformity. In the words of the old proverb, "Te nail that sticks up gets hammered down." Rural and ethnic communities that shun local innovators and sufer from a mind- set of inferiority and poverty often lack self- efcacy – the belief in their ability to succeed. Without this belief, and without a predilection to self-directed learning, people are unlikely to beneft from broadband until someone can efectively encourage them. For any individual, the motivation that arises from the satisfaction of learning new skills and gaining new capabilities, including the growing capacity for learning, powers a self-sustaining growth cycle. Individual capacity can grow as an inner innovation engine. Te Broadband gives people the opportunity to learn nearly anything for free.

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