Monday, November 24, 2008

Broadband access creates unusual employment opportunities for rural Wyoming

The availability of broadband Internet has brought new employment opportunities to small communities in northern Wyoming. Ten Sleep, a town of 350 residents, has been opened to new opportunities that utilize technology because the town upgraded to fiber-optic cable.

Eleutian Technology employs teachers in Ten Sleep to teach English to Koreans via the Web. "The company has 300 teachers hooked up to more than 15,000 students," writes Mead Gruver of The Associated Press. Eleutian Technology CEO Kent Holiday initially had planned on building the business in Utah but changed his mind because of the fiber-optic cable installed by the the telecom cooperative that serves Ten Sleep. The upgrade was made in 2006.

Jon Benson, CEO of the Wyoming Technology Business Center at the University of Wyoming told Gruver, "Broadband connectivity really has allowed people to do high-tech businesses from remote areas. It allows companies to locate in a place like Wyoming and do business across the world."(Read more)

There has been some debate about the economic impact of broadband access in rural areas. But the Ten Sleep example shows the potential benefits.

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