Jobs and Broadband

There was a recent article in The Washington Post that took a look at whether broadband brought jobs. They looked at 2 communities: Lebanon and Rose Hill, Virginia. Both got broadband – and the article goes on to say that Lebanon flourished while in Rose Hill the change was not as pronounced.

First for folks who are not on the Baller Herbst list I’ll post Jim Baller’s comments:

This article overlooks the role of Bristol Virginia Utilities in bringing hundreds of high-paying jobs to the Lebanon, VA, the successful one of the two town mentioned in the article. For its involvement in this and many other job-creating projects, Bristol has been named one the seven finalists for recognition as the world’s Intelligent Community of the Year – the only American finalist this year.

I wanted to draw out two points that I saw in the article, First the recognition that broadband alone isn’t going to do it: “You can’t just drop an Internet line and expect jobs growth. Getting broadband access is only the first part,” said Larry Irving, former head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The second point builds on the first – people notice that broadband is not enough: “CGI said it was attracted by Lebanon’s willingness to train workers and by higher levels of education than in other parts of the region. About 71 percent of Lebanon’s residents have a high school diploma, compared with Rose Hill, where only 29 percent do, according to the census.

An undercurrent that I’ve heard mentioned by economic developers is that broadband may not be enough but it is necessary.

This entry was posted in economic development, Rural by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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