Co-ops Bring Internet to Rural U.S. Towns

Which U.S. city offers all its residents an internet connection 100 times faster than cable and 500 times faster than DSL? The answer is Chattanooga, a city of about 170,000 in southeastern Tennessee. Because companies charge remote towns more for internet access than they do big cities, some  American cities are building their own networks, Slate's Future Tense reports

Besides Chattanooga, other successes include a 10,000-square-mile area in North Dakota that has better connectivity than nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Bristol, Va.'s ability to offer increased speeds at a steady price since 2003. The cities Slate covers use a variety of tactics, including city-owned networks and co-ops. 

These community networks are an important part of bringing better internet access to all of the U.S., Slate argues. The online magazine draws parallels between the current situation and the coops that helped bring electricity to rural America during the 1930s. The U.S. has slower download speeds than 27 other countries, according to a 2009 report.

Yet cable and DSL companies are lobbying to restrict cities' ability to build their own networks, Slate points out, while arguing that legislation about the networks should remain free.

Source: Slate

Thi story was provided by InnovationNewsDaily, a sister site to LiveScience. Follow InnovationNewsDaily on Twitter @News_Innovation, or on Facebook.

Live Science Staff
For the science geek in everyone, Live Science offers a fascinating window into the natural and technological world, delivering comprehensive and compelling news and analysis on everything from dinosaur discoveries, archaeological finds and amazing animals to health, innovation and wearable technology. We aim to empower and inspire our readers with the tools needed to understand the world and appreciate its everyday awe.