EDA University Center for
Regional Economic Innovation
Energy Co-op Broadband Networks: Connecting Rural Americans to 21st Century Economic Opportunity (2019)
Co-Learning Plan - 2019
Author: Mitchell Shapiro, Independent Consultant
The task of bringing high speed Internet to America's rural communities remains a challenging and painfully unfinished one, aggravating the existing economic and social divides these communities face. To help address this challenge, certain rural energy cooperatives (RECs)—including three in Michigan—have begun deploying high-speed fiber optic networks to better connect their members. This project examines the experience of these pioneers and related factors to develop a body of information, analysis, and recommendations to inform strategies aimed at expanding broadband, and the benefits it can bring to underserved rural communities.