walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Urban Vs Rural and Broadband

We've been talking a lot post-election about the urban/rural divide. And every single time I hear about that, I think, really, what we need is Broadband Everywhere (and honestly, I'm pretty agnostic about the details on how that is delivered, altho I'm prepared to get into the weeds about what qualifies as broadband). There are a lot of people who moved from one part of the country to a coastal city for a better job market -- and a lot of those people miss where they come from, and where a lot of their family still resides. They miss the food. They miss the people, obviously. They miss the climate, the terrain, the places they went when they were kids, the restaurants they loved, the way people talk. It's a little different for everyone, but missing where one came from -- even if you never intend to go back -- is a remarkably common phenomenon. If the thing stopping you from going back is because there are Jobs and Restaurants and Music and Cultural Experiences where you live now, and there is an opioid epidemic and some scary, homophobic, racist people where you come from, it's kind of not even a choice. Even if the scary, homophobic, racist people are the people you love.

This is an important thing to notice. Because the way values evolve is by seeing how people we love have changed, admiring that change, and emulating it. If people with education and jobs get the opportunity to take their small business or even just their telecommutable job back to wherever they came from, their income and education and age and experience will almost instantly cause them to be a pillar of the community, which will initially be a little bit of a shock to everyone involved because they probably weren't when they left for college as a teenager who might have been a bit of a hellion when younger.

So. Broadband means Our Future Economy Today can go anywhere ... that Broadband is, for suitable definition of Broadband. Which would let everyone move _back_ to the places they love and be around the people they love. This would be great for the people who get the much lower cost of living in an amenable environment. And it would be even better for the people who never left, to have their loved one back ... and the money they spend in the local restaurants and so forth. And it would be really amazeballs for our country, to have the further mixing occur that moves us all gently forward into the future, rather than painfully, by forcing more people to move to already very expensive cities that are not so much to the liking to the people who have remained persistently rural.

ETA: I hope it is obvious that none of this is about me, since I am from Shoreline, a city immediately north of Seattle, and thus not lacking for broadband now or ... ever, since the invention of broadband. But I've sure heard about it from other people who moved to Seattle, and who missed where they came from.
Tags: our future economy today, politics
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