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Democracy & Technology Blog Broadband revitalizing small towns

Snyder, Tex.

The Internet is bringing fundamental change to small-town Texas, according to Roy Bragg, a writer-at-large with the San Antonio Express-News.

Highways leading into town are lined with vacant commercial and industrial buildings. Many open businesses bear the markings of life on the economic edge. They’re shoehorned into decrepit buildings that have seen a litany of failed ventures and show it — peeling paint; old, broken, painted-over signs; orphaned gas pump islands; drive-through lanes to nowhere; and the general sense that an office is a bad fit in a converted muffler shop.
But there still is life in small-town Texas, and much of it is happening in the broadband pipes that deliver high-speed Internet to homes and businesses …

The article notes that in remote Snyder, Tex. (pop. 10,000), former schoolteacher Deanie Mills “has seen 11 of her suspense and true crime books published by New York houses …. Research used to take months. Now, with the Web, she can research from her country home outside Snyder.”
Also mentioned is Jerry Baird, a caterer who sells seasonings over the Internet. “His factory is near Fort Worth. His distribution center is here. And he has customers on three continents.”
The article compares broadband connections to the Internet to paved roads in terms of significance for rural America, and notes that the Internet is compensating for the harm that interstate highways had on the small towns they bypassed.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.