Cool & Connected workshops

Strengthening broadband capabilities in rural communities

As information- and technology-based industries become a larger part of the national economy, rural communities with limited broadband connections are struggling to keep pace.

To help rural places get up to speed, Smart Growth America worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Appalachian Regional Commission on Cool & Connected, a technical assistance program to help rural communities find new economic opportunities by providing planning guidance for sustainable downtown development and investments in broadband, or reliable, high-speed internet access.

Many rural communities are actively seeking new opportunities to drive economic growth but are restrained by inadequate broadband access. Businesses need fast and reliable connection speeds to process payments and orders, participate in online commerce, and stay competitive in an increasingly tech-oriented economy. Anchor institutions such as schools and hospitals are unable to move and manage information quickly and provide public services as efficiently as possible.

We worked with the following rural communities to help bridge the broadband gap and strengthen their regional economies:

  • Zanesville, OH
  • Williamson, WV
  • Portsmouth, OH
  • Haleyville, AL
  • Weirton, WV
  • Bluefield, WV
  • Clarion, PA
  • Curwensville, PA
  • Erwin, TN
  • Jonesville & Pennington Gap, VA
  • Carrizozo, NM
  • Lakesville, IN
  • Edenton, NV
  • Clarksville, AR
  • Millinocket, ME
  • Eastport, ME