I usually leave major NTCA meetings feeling simultaneously impressed and energized; impressed by the scope of issues that are implicated by rural broadband and the rural condition, generally, and energized by the ingenuity and opportunities they present.
This week’s Fall Conference featured a panel of three students – two high school and one college – who shared their perspectives on broadband connectivity. They discussed usage patterns for school, work and social needs; aspirations for the future and their individual desires to live in connected rural areas; and how parents’ “grounding kids from their phones” was a failed exercise in discipline when one mom realized she could not text her daughter.
I tend to view broadband applications in a somewhat linear form: how does broadband improve education, health care, economic development or public safety? But, three articles I read during a series of airport delays following the conference taught me about the scope of what broadband can do, and how increased connectivity is spilling back to effect change in so-called “brick and mortar” environments. If Robert Frost contemplated the road not taken, I was left thinking about analyses less linear.