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PNS Daily News - October 23, 2020 

President Trump and Joe Biden square off in their final debate; warnings that "dark days" of the pandemic are yet to come; and food assistance now available for some wildfire victims.

2020Talks - October 23, 2020 

The second and last presidential debate was much more controlled than the first; President Trump keeping to his main themes, calmly rebutted by Biden.

Slower Rural Speed Limits on 411 Superhighway

May 26, 2011

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Rural communities are 10 times more likely than big cities to have only one choice in broadband provider, recent federal data shows.

The government breaks down where high-speed Internet is available and where it isn't in dissecting the broadband gap between rural and urban dwellers. Roberto Gallardo, a research associate with the Southern Rural Development Center, says the urban-rural gap often affects price and quality.

"If you have only provider, then you may not have the competition effect. You may have an issue of speed. You may have the provider, but maybe the speed is not that fast."

The data also shows that the more rural the community, the more likely it is to have advertised download speeds slower than 6 megabits per second, a speed Gallardo says is necessary to download picture and video-crowded web content.

Rural areas that lack the workforce to attract industry could be propped up by cyberspace business ventures, Gallardo says. Without broadband connections, he says, he fears those regions will be economically crippled.

"The reality is they've got to compete with places in India and China and so forth. However, Internet and e-Commerce, e-businesses - those are an alternative. They are not the whole solution, but they are an option."

Pricey infrastructure investments alone can ward off many risk-adverse broadband providers from servicing small communities, Gallardo says.

"If you don't have this critical number of residents or potential clients, then from a provider's perspective you're going to be asking yourself, "Is it worth going into this small community that's really, really very isolated?'"

The rural-urban broadband divide in Kentucky is narrower than the national picture. Nearly 41 percent of urbanites in the Bluegrass State have one broadband service provider, compared with close to 32 percent in rural communities. When it comes to faster download speeds, 5 percent more urban residents than rural ones have an easier time getting pictures and video.

The National Broadband Map, which allows users to search broadband availability across the nation, is online at

Renee Shaw, Public News Service - KY