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The Great Rural America Paradox

When you think of rural America, do you see scenic settings and strong communities that are growing because of the small town support structures of family, friends, and neighbors? Across our nation, people look to rural living as a throwback to simpler times, but unfortunately the idealized version of rural America that we've created in our minds is often quite different than the reality.

Rural America is struggling economically, and in many places, stands on the wrong side of the digital divide.

Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau and member of the Connected Nation board, has addressed the problem in a recent article he wrote for AG Professional:

The lack of technology, infrastructure and even basic services present major challenges for rural citizens. This is evident in rural classrooms, where nearly one in four U.S. kids attends school. Struggling rural school districts are grappling with teacher retention and lack of education technology that their urban counterparts take for granted, while seeing enrollment that is growing at a faster rate than anywhere else in America.

Top this off with increasing rural poverty that 41 percent of rural students live in daily, as well as an increasing number of students with special needs. There’s a misconception that rural America and schools are stable and financially secure. But, they face every challenge that urban schools do, and more.

At Connected Nation, our philosophy is that rural communities benefit through assessment, planning, and self help, while citizens benefit through expanded access to relevant technology. Importantly, the private sector benefits from a more investment-friendly environment and increasingly tech-savvy consumers. 

The idealized vision of small town America that is so prevalent in popular culture can be achieved by fostering broadband adoption, education, and use in rural communities across our nation. We are actively working with local governments, service providers, and our other partners across the nation to make meaningful strides toward closing the technological gap and bringing opportunity to more schools, businesses, and communities across the nation!

Learn more about the challenges being faced in rural America by checking out the full article in AG Professional, and by sharing this blog with your friends and family using the social media buttons below. To get involved and bring Connected Nation's community engagement program to your hometown, contact us at

 Together, we can connect our nation!