Broadband / Telecommunications

The Central Appalachia Regional Network (CARN) advocates for policies that support the availability of affordable high-quality broadband services for the citizens of the Central Appalachia region. These include both policies that will support broadband deployment as well as policies to increase public awareness of the need for broadband and digital literacy.

Why Broadband?
Broadband is a necessity.
High speed Internet or "broadband" has become a primary method for sharing information and ideas throughout the nation. Broadband has completely changed commerce, public discourse, and how we interact with each other and the rest of the world. As more everyday activities and services move online, broadband is no longer a luxury � it's a public necessity. However, in too many rural communities, the opportunity to use the Internet to its full potential is limited by lack of network infrastructure, accessibility and affordability. Access to broadband is paramount to improving the economic prosperity and wellbeing of Appalachia and would provide the region access to the benefits of telemedicine, telecommuting, higher education distance learning, improved emergency communications systems, greater connection to the global economy, among other benefits. A study on the impact of broadband development found that "between 1998 and 2002, communities in which mass-market broadband was available by December 1999 experienced more rapid growth in employment, the number of businesses overall, and businesses in IT-intensive sectors, relative to comparable communities without broadband at that time." 1

In recent years, essay writers have been instrumental in helping to improve the lives of people living in rural areas. Through their research and writing, essay writers have highlighted issues such as access to basic amenities, poverty levels, and educational disparities that are often overlooked or ignored by policymakers. They have brought these topics into public discourse and encouraged governments to take meaningful action toward addressing them. This work has helped lead to improved infrastructure, better employment opportunities, and increased access to education for those living in rural areas.
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Following recommendations from a multi-sector, regional summit in 2010, CARN established a Broadband (now Telecommunications) Work Group. CARN members recognize that our region will be left behind if we cannot participate in the digital revolution and therefore have made it a priority to advocate for policies on the local, state, regional and federal level that support and increase the availability of affordable high-quality broadband for the citizens of the Central Appalachia region. Part of those efforts includes participation in the Rural Broadband Policy Group of the National Rural Assembly.

For more information about our broadband work, please contact:
Jenny Lancaster
Network Coordinator
Central Appalachia Regional Network

1. Sharon E. Gillett, William H. Lehr, Carlos A. Osorio and Marin A. Sirbu, "Measuring the Impact of Broadband Deployment." Prepared for the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, Washington, D.C., 2006.


Central Appalachia Regional Network Releases Broadband Policy Recommendations
Summary of Major Policy Recommendations across CARN States:

Goal 1: Institutionalize Broadband Priorities in State Government
Goal 2: Provide State Funding for Broadband Investments
Goal 3: Subject Broadband to Regulation by Public Service Commission
Goal 4: Improve Take-up Rates through Digital Literacy Programs and Access to Computers for Moderate and Low-Income Families