Monday, August 15, 2022

Play

President Biden this week is poised to sign into law sweeping legislation that addresses climate change and prescription drug costs; Measuring the Supreme Court abortion decision's impact in the corporate world; Disaster recovery for Eastern Kentucky businesses.

Play

Federal officials warn about threats against law enforcement; Democrats push their climate, health, and tax bill through Congress; and a new report reveals 800 Americans were evacuated during the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Play

Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

High-Speed Internet Key to Economic Recovery in Appalachia

Play

Monday, December 30, 2019   

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A rural phone cooperative based in Appalachia has brought some of the fastest Internet in the United States to mountain communities, which has led to what some call an economic miracle in the depressed region.

Since 2009, the Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative connected 18,000 people in Jackson and Owsley counties in Kentucky, according to Keith Gabbard, CEO of PRTC. He said the affordable, faster broadband helped bring call-center employment to hundreds of residents served by the co-op.

"In the two counties we serve, we've seen over 1,000 jobs created," Gabbard said; "work from home jobs, partly due to the great Internet, partly due to these teleworks hubs and the great people who staff them."

He said companies including U-Haul and Apple now offer training for tech-support positions, which has helped cut the unemployment rate in the region from 16% to 5% over the past 10 years.

Gabbard said the success of the program bodes well for other rural counties to look to high-speed Internet as an economic-development tool. Many of the jobs in the Kentucky counties where PRTC expanded its broadband offer good salaries and benefits and the ability to work from home, which Gabbard said has transformed the lives of those in the region who had only been able find minimum-wage jobs with long commutes.

He said the installation was expensive - costing about $50 million dollars in grants, loans and capital, for a thousand miles of fiber optic cable - but well worth it.

"Probably the best investment our company ever made," he said. "We did not envision how important it would be when it first started. It's not just about jobs; it's about education, it's about health care."

He said the expanded broadband has also brought telemedicine to a region hit hard by opioid addiction and the collapse of the coal industry. He points out that PRTC has even put together a program in Jackson County to provide medical care for veterans.


get more stories like this via email

In 2021, damages from floods and other severe weather in the United States exceeded $145 billion. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

In the wake of historic summer floods in the Midwest and Appalachia, there are calls for a new national plan to reduce risks from disasters. The …


Social Issues

Small businesses that suffered damage or destruction from the recent historic flooding in Eastern Kentucky can get one-on-one assistance as they try t…

Environment

The Inflation Reduction Act, newly passed by the U.S. Senate, allocates $369 Billion to fight climate change, and appropriates funds specifically for …


Social Issues

By Linda Burstyn for Ms. Magazine Broadcast version by Roz Brown for New Mexico News Connection/Public News Service Bad Business: Anti-abortion …

In Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 General Election, voters will decide races for governor, U.S. House and Senate, and several state offices. (Zimmytws/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Opening up Pennsylvania's primary elections to voters who aren't registered either as Democrats or Republicans is the topic of a State House of Repres…

Social Issues

August is National Black Business Month, and this year, for Black-owned companies in Pennsylvania that have managed to survive through the pandemic…

Social Issues

On August 27, members of the public will have a rare opportunity to visit the historic Padlock Ranch first developed for livestock in 1867, now …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021