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Aug 8, 2016

Bits | The Business of Technology - August 8, 2016: Rural Electrical Cooperatives Turn to the Internet.

Monday, August 8, 2016

The New York Times


The New York Times

Monday, August 8, 2016

A lineman for the Rural Electrification Administration working in Trempealeau County, Wis., in the 1930s.
A lineman for the Rural Electrification Administration working in Trempealeau County, Wis., in the 1930s. FDR Presidential Library & Museum
By the 1930s, 90 percent of urban residents in the United States had electricity. Not so in rural areas, where only 10 percent of the population had easy access to electricity. Electrical companies argued that it was too difficult to provide service to those areas and, even if they did, there was little money to be made.
The answer came in the New Deal, through new rural electrical regulations and cooperatives that did the work that big companies would not.
In 2016, a similar answer is coming to rural regions that do not have adequate broadband internet access. As Ceclia Kang writes, about 40 electrical cooperatives offer or are in the process of building networks for internet networks.
“This is the new New Deal,” said Sheila Allgood, a manager of Bolt, the broadband subsidiary of the Northeast Oklahoma Electric Cooperative. “Now we’re doing what cable and telecom companies don’t want to do, just like we did for electricity when the big private power companies didn’t want to come here either.”
Continue reading the main story
— Jim Kerstetter
 
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