Rural/Urban Digital Divide Is Costing The Overall U-S Economy

The digital divide and how to close it was one of the topics of a Senate subcommittee hearing in Sioux Falls last week. Dakota State University President Jose Marie-Griffiths testified that gap is evident in rural areas of South Dakota…

“The crippling digital divide exists between rural and urban areas and in some respects it’s growing. Rural areas that have secure, reliable broadband connectivity are indeed being transformed by it and are experiencing a new age of innovation, however generally rural areas are being cut off from life in the 21st Century.”
Marie-Griffiths says there are several components needed to bring rural areas up to speed…

“Reliable, fast, secure, adequate peak capacity broadband Internet service, reliable, fast, secure, adequate capacity cell phone service, technology services at costs we can sustainably afford and a highly skilled workforce. Unfortunately in many rural communities don’t have one or more of these components and instead of innovation and hopeful futures they’re more and more being left behind; attempting to access 21st Century electronic resources with 20th Century technology.”
Marie-Griffiths says there is a real economic cost in falling behind…

“This lack of connectivity doesn’t just impact those living in rural areas. It impacts the economic success of the entire United States. According to a study by DeLoit for Facebook, every day that one person is not connected to the Internet, America loses $2.30 of potential economic activity. And that means if we could solve the rural-urban digital divide today, tomorrow we’d have to potential to add 83-million dollars-per-day or 30-billion dollars a year to the U-S economy.”
Senator John Thune chaired the hearing of the Subcommittee on Communication, Technology, Innovation and the Internet.