Saturday, February 07, 2009

Web business consultant says rural people need entrepreneurial training to gain from broadband

The new Senate stimulus package has money to expand broadbamd Internet access in rural areas, but that "is just half the battle -- maybe less than half," the Daily Yonder says, introducing an article by rural Web business consultant Frank Odasz, right. "Broadband doesn't produce jobs, people do, and they need training in best practices and entrepreneurship and trusted networks of support."

Odasz writes, "Once access is achieved, the telephone and cable companies will have met their goal, but the challenge for citizens and communities to produce jobs and income will have just begun. With broadband in place, how will new jobs be created? Can we identify replicable broadband training best practices in a world of booming bottom-up entrepreneurial innovations, in time to produce jobs on a massive scale? Yes, we can. In fact, it is already happening."

Odasz's main example is Ten Sleep, Wyo., where more than 20 percent of the 350 people "work via the Internet as professionals, having moved here seeking a rural lifestyle; they brought with them Internet know-how and the capability to use it." The key employer is Eleutian, which is "training English speakers to be English teachers via fiber optics," for the $100 billion-a-year market in English instruction in Asia.

There are also numerous cases of "community technology centers and community networking," Odasz writes, referring readers to Community Technology Review, the Community Technology Centers Network, the Association for Community Networking; and the Community Networking Clearinghouse. He also cites several examples of entrepreneurs based in rural areas and selling mainly over the Internet. "The immediate need, and opportunity," he says, "is for fast-track broadband entrepreneurship training with an ongoing emphasis on emerging best practices." (Read more)

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