Broadband is also about energy distribution

Once again I feel a little smarter after reading an article from the Daily Yonder (Local Power: Let’s Be Smarter This Time). It’s primarily a look at power and access to power in rural areas – historic, current and future. It recognizes broadband as an answer to the power issue. (An idea that was also supported in a recent OECD report.)

Quick side note: I have seen so many reports pay lip service to broadband as a policy solution – not policy issue/problem; it’s nice to see that put into practice. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

So, it’s time to make an old idea new again by engaging rural communities in planning for energy production as part of the smart grid. Let’s recognize now that broadband access isn’t just about information. It’s also going to be about high-technology energy distribution. If it’s bad to be bypassed by the information highway, being bypassed by the smart grid will be an even rougher blow for rural communities.

Communities should plan for broadband deployment with the smart grid, when necessary or when/if broadband is the primary focus of an initiative, planners should remember the smartgrid. The smartgrid will open the doors to rural communities using and perhaps selling excess energy from renewable energy sources. (Think wind in southern and central Minnesota!)

It’s one more way that rural areas can use technology to create communitywide economic opportunities and promote individual innovation. (I just read another article on high tech industry clusters in Minnesota and hope to write about it soon.)

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