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Sep 21, 2023
4 min

5 Ways Rural Broadband Creates Long-Term Sustainability

Rural Broadband is a Necessity (Not a Luxury)

The reality of modern life makes high-speed internet an essential service. Broadband infrastructure opens critical doors to education, employment, healthcare, commerce, and socialization. It can no longer be considered a luxury. Without it, communities will fail to thrive. 

This is particularly true in rural areas, which often lack the same amenities and opportunities as their urban counterparts. Reliable rural broadband can help communities overcome economic, education, health, and social disparities. Often, it is a lifeline to essential services such as telemedicine and remote learning. Rural broadband is also key to enabling full participation in the digital economy.

There are five major ways that broadband can boost rural communities in a manner where they’re positioned for long-term growth and success—and it’s why investing in rural broadband now is setting your community up for a future of possibilities. 

The Top 5 Ways Rural Broadband Creates Lasting Change in Communities

Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the very real ways that a community can benefit from a solid broadband infrastructure. 

  1. Economic development: Small businesses can expand their customer base beyond the local area, and farmers can access online markets to sell their products. Broadband also attracts new businesses and industries to rural areas and is the foundation of today’s work-from-anywhere culture, creating new jobs and stimulating economic growth. 

  2. Education: Students can access online learning materials and other educational resources that may only be available to students in urban areas. They can also take courses from remote locations, which can level the educational playing field between rural and urban areas. Additionally, no children are stuck at the McDonald’s off the highway—the only place before where they might access a reliable Wi-Fi network. By bringing robust connectivity to homes and schools, students can complete their homework wherever they need to. 

  3. Telemedicine: Telemedicine makes it possible for rural residents to take advantage of world-class healthcare services typically available only in major metropolitan areas. Patients can get access to medical specialists who may not be available locally, and it can reduce the need for long-distance travel to receive care. For some patients, at-home monitoring lets them recover and heal in the comfort of their own home. Without rural broadband to make this a reality, many patients would be otherwise stuck with an expensive hospital stay. 

  4. Social and civic engagement: Residents may be isolated from one another in rural areas. High-speed internet empowers them to connect with friends and family, participate in online communities, access online government services, and engage with local and national politics.

  5. Public safety: First responders can communicate more quickly and effectively in emergency situations over a broadband network. It can also provide access to remote monitoring and surveillance systems.

As you can see, rural broadband does so much more than simply bring connections to homes. Rural broadband lays a foundation for an entire community that can offer resilience, economic growth, and expansive opportunities for every member. 

Becoming a broadband service provider (BSP) is a natural evolution of cooperative values. The success of electric co-ops in bringing electricity to rural America makes them well-suited to deliver broadband services to their members. Now’s the time to start exploring your options—and we’ve got even more important facts for you to consider as you embark on this exciting new journey. 

Ready to learn more truths about rural broadband deployment that will help demystify your challenges? Download our eBook, 10 ½ Truths About Broadband Projects for Electric Cooperatives, to learn more.

Senior Manager, Field Marketing—Electric Cooperatives, Calix

Nick Jones is the senior manager, field marketing - electric cooperatives at Calix. He has over 20 years of experience building relationships, brands, and organizations, focusing on the rural broadband movement. Nick has worked alongside utilities, cooperatives, and communities nationwide as they seek to provide broadband that will allow their community to thrive for decades. 

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