Five Days on the Digital Dirt Road


In North Carolina alone, nearly 5 million residents don't have access to high-speed Internet. According to a July 2007 study, 30 percent or more of the state's population in 21 rural counties did not have high-speed Internet connectivity. In many cases, telephone and cable companies have refused to provide service to people living in the remote and rural areas of the state, while some people are simply priced out of buying expensive broadband service. It's becoming increasingly clear, however, that Internet connectivity is key to a sound economy and could help revitalize local communities hit hard by the economic downturn. North Carolina is the second-largest textile employer and the third-largest apparel employer in the United States, and it has suffered numerous plant closures over the last decade. The state has continued to hemorrhage jobs in the face of our current economic recession, losing 34,900 jobs in December 2008 alone. Over the past year, 120,200 jobs have vanished, and the state's unemployment rate is high at 8.7%.

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