In the digital age in which we live, having access to high speed internet is almost a necessity. Every part of our daily lives is impacted by the internet from paying bills, searching and applying for jobs, on-line educational course and homework assignments for school children.
Rural communities have access to slow dial-up internet service, which ties up the phone line, or high speed service from satellite providers. But often times satellite pricing structure is double and sometimes triple that of major phone and cable carriers. In a depressed economy paying double rates is not a viable option for everyone in the community. Clarke County is currently experiencing a 16% unemployment rate which is double that of the national unemployment rate. By providing the Internet café/library the residents would not have to make a choice between paying to keep a roof over their heads, food on their table and clothes on their backs versus having high speed internet service.
In addition to the economic impact of having an Internet café in the community, residents would not have to travel 12 miles to the nearest library to use their computers and free internet or other businesses in town that offer free Wi-Fi to their customers. An added bonus to having the Internet café is being able to offer computer training to those residents who might not currently own a computer.
I’m sure most people take having high speed internet access for granted and never realized that not all areas in the country are so lucky. In rural communities even having good and consistent cell phone reception is an issue so it’s no wonder that we don’t have the infrastructure to support the local phone carrier to provide DSL service.
Providing a community Internet café would have long term and lasting benefits.