“It comes down to population density,” said Josh Holbrook, an analyst with the Yankee Group, a research firm based in Boston. The smaller the population that would benefit from DSL, the less likely a service provider will invest the money into DSL equipment. Small rural businesses “are at a competitive disadvantage because they can’t use the same applications” as businesses with high speed Internet, Holbrook said.
In northern New Hampshire, the Colebrook Development Corporation, a volunteer community organization, is taking matters into its own hands. The CDC is building a wireless broadband network in Colebrook, a border town with Vermont and in close proximity to Maine.
Larry Rappaport, a Colebrook selectman and manager for the wireless project, said that the CDC is two months away from launching the five wireless hubs in the area. Funds for the project were secured by Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.) as well as from local private grants.
“I’m concerned with the economic direction in the northern counties of New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine,” Rappaport said. With manufacturing jobs leaving the community, Rappaport said the CDC wants to make sure residents can use the Internet to start businesses and continue to earn a living.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.