Monday, February 16, 2009

Harsh words for rural Americans

A story on NPR's Morning Edition today featured these quotes and statements from former FCC economist Michael Katz about the part of the Obama stimulus package that would expand broadband Internet access to rural areas:
Other people don't like to say bad things about rural areas. So I will.
 The notion that we should be helping people who live in rural areas avoid the costs that they impose on society … is misguided, from an efficiency point of view and an equity one.
Katz made these statements last week as part of a panel at the American Enterprise Institute.  The stimulus package includes $7.2 billion to expand broadband Internet access into "underserved" and rural areas. Katz listed ways that the $7.2 billion could be put to better use, including an effort to combat infant deaths. But he also spoke of rural places as environmentally hostile, energy inefficient and even weak in innovation, simply because rural people are spread out across the landscape.

I had missed it, but today's Morning Edition story by Howard Berkes reports that a New York Times story on 2 February 2009 suggested that expansion of broadband to rural places could be "a cyberbridge to nowhere."

Is that tantamount, I wonder, to saying rural people are "nobodies"? Does the blog need a new label for "urban arrogance"?

Read more from the Daily Yonder on rurality and broadband, most recently here and here.

No comments: