Market research firm comScore reported that broadband penetration in rural markets is growing at a faster rate than it is in larger metro markets--about 16 percent to 11 percent over the last two years. Still, the overall rural penetration rate of 75 percent remains well below the national mark of about 89 percent, according to comScore. Broadband stimulus funds would then seem to be a very timely addition to teh rural markets, a factor that to help the broadband penetration rate maintain and increase its momentum.
However, there are also concerns that rural communities and highly rural states may appeal to larger telcos to help them get a piece of the stimulus pie. If that's the case, they are probably barking up the wrong tree, as the large telso want nothing to do with stumulus funds. This may demonstrate that ultimately rural market leaders feel they have little choice when it comes to companies that might improve their broadband situation. This could be an opportunity for a competitor to come in an break a rural market's reliance on such a one-sided romance, though of course, that competitor will need to figure out how to make money in the long term, too.
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About $2.5 billion has been set aside for rural broadband stimulus