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Twelve angry states – or digital ghettoes?

Net revolution bypasses rural America

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Twelve states in the US have become digital ghettos because not enough cash has been invested in advanced digital networks. A report published by the industry lobbying group iAdvance and supported by US Representatives Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) and Rick Boucher (D-Va) outs a "Disconnected Dozen" list of 12 states it maintains are at the highest risk of being left behind. According to the report, millions of Americans are missing the benefits of the emerging digital economy because regulations have slowed deployment of the high-speed Internet backbone. iAdvance claims there are simply not enough backbone hubs being built to provide access to consumers and businesses. "The vast majority of Americans in inner cities and rural areas simply do not have access to the high-speed Internet and are unable to reap the full benefits of the digital economy," said the report's co-author, Erik Olbeter, formerly with the Economic Strategy Institute in Washington, DC. "While people and businesses in the 'Disconnected Dozen' states are at the most serious risk, without a significant increase in backbone deployment, this shortage is going to affect nearly every corner of the country," he said. The "Disconnected Dozen" are: Alabama, Arkansas, New Hampshire, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. Of course, the problem is not just contained in North America. Thanks to Britain's "special relationship " with the US, some people already regard the UK as being just another US state. And when it comes to digital networks, it certainly is in one. If that's the case, then maybe this digitally backward isle should join the iAdvance's list of backwater states. Then they'd all be known as the Disconnected Baker's Dozen. ®

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