Rural communities all over the world are facing numerous challenges. The most pressing of these include high poverty rates, natural disasters, declining population due to mass migrations to urban areas, and lack of infrastructure and facilities necessary for sustainable growth and development.
Although there is no one panacea for the all the troubles plaguing rural communities across the globe, one course of action is to put in place measures that will make these communities go on a path toward smart growth.
Smart growth economic development
In the American context for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends a multi-pronged approach that encourages communities to take on strategies that utilize existing assets, fortifies communities, and generate long-term value that will invite an array of investments. To summarize, the proposed framework for creating smart growth economic development includes:
- Engineering an economic climate that enhances the capability of working lands and conserves natural landscapes.
- Making sure that existing assets and investments are well cared for (e.g. historical sites, downtown districts, main streets, etc.)
- Nurture the local population by building vibrant and enduring neighborhoods supported by new financial, technical, and commercial investments.
Connecting the unconnected
With smart growth policies in place, rural communities will be empowered to undertake various measures that will help them anticipate and overcome challenges. One key area that can prove to be a worthwhile investment among such communities is establishing regular Internet connection using robust and reliable wireless broadband solutions.
All over the world, it is estimated that some 4 billion people still don’t have regular Internet connection, and most of them live in rural areas. That this remains a problem is due in no small measure to the fact that trenching cables across the countryside or particularly challenging terrains is cost prohibitive. This often leaves remote, poor areas with inferior or nonexistent broadband connections.
Why should you care?
You might ask why you should even bother supporting the expansion of wireless broadband across rural or marginalized areas. It is because everyone in the world has the right to a wireless connection and to the educational and economic opportunities that it brings with it. High-speed Internet access should not be limited to densely populated areas, and it most certainly shouldn’t be limited only to wealthier regions.
In this regard, many technology leaders are facing the challenges head on. Wireless broadband solutions expert Cambium Networks, for instance, recently set the record for establishing the longest wireless network link in the world, a point-to-point link spanning the 245-km (152-mile) distance between the top of Pike’s Peak, Colorado, and the south a Cheyenne, Wyoming—the same distance as between Paris and Brussels.
But the reality is that there are still a great deal of challenges that need to be overcome in order for governments and technology providers to be able to fulfill its mission of connecting the world’s unconnected, especially those living in poor, rural communities. To do this, they must work together to keep the issue at the forefront of development agendas, in addition to continuously innovating in order to come up with the best and most affordable solutions that can help people.