Living in a rural community knows how difficult it has been to get adequate, reliable Internet services through broadband – high speed services. Things are constantly changing .
The Economic Research Service showed in 2009 that an estimated 82 percent of US population. This is a stark contrast, to the 41% of rural households with high-speed Internet connectivity.
More recently, rural communities are acquiring better access to broadband the Internet. This opens up a whole new bunch of possible alternatives to improve the quality of life and economic vitality through the digital economy. Here are three such examples.
1. Rural E-commerce
Rural businesses are taking advantage of the Internet by adopting e-commerce as a business model.
The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in rural communities. With a little basic training and a whole lot of passion can create a website to sell products and services indicative of the area.
For some small businesses, this has enabled access into new markets by having direct connections to suppliers and customers.
More than ever, rural entrepreneurs can step forward to create an e-commerce business. Let's take a look at a small business called Lickity Split Chocolate located in rural Blanding, Utah shows how a business can be successful and sell its products over the Internet.
Lickity Split is a majority owned Native American for-profit company opening their doors in 2004. They sell chocolates reflecting their Navajo traditions. Their store is located in downtown Blanding. Online shoppers can also purchase those fine chocolates in their e-commerce store.
What's really unique about Lickity Split is that is owned and operated by youth ages 8 to 18. The current CEO is Jasmine; she's 12 years old. The former CEO retired at 18 to pursue a career majoring in business administration.
2. Long Distance Learning
In Rural communities with access to the Internet are just now beginning to realize the effect that the Internet has on their every day life. Just in the last five years communities have benefited from telemedicine and distance learning.
The Oregon Access Network demonstrates how the Internet can provide online education to classrooms throughout Oregon to more than 200 high schools. Many of these schools are located in rural communities.
The big benefits are that the network delivers educational curriculum like foreign language and advance science courses not normally available to rural schools. Distance learning has made access to new learning opportunities everywhere.
Telemedicine is providing videoconferencing that can properly equip emergency rooms and bring specialized services to outpatient and inpatient medical centers. Often telemedicine links a major medical center to rural hospitals providing better healthcare services to those communities.
Without question, the Internet has had a positive social and economic impact to rural America. The Internet has come a long way long way and the last 10 years but there are many more opportunities available to build rural economies.