The Senate has nipped some of the spending for rural broadband out of the stimulus bill. The argument has been that this provision won’t create jobs fast enough. The Wausau (Wisconsin, in picture above) Daily Herald takes on this argument in an editorial today:
“(W)e’ll leave the debate about the economic theory behind the bill for another day. Because the substance matters, too. This bill also represents a serious long-term investment in the nation’s infrastructure, and it is equally reasonable and right for citizens to scrutinize its substance. That’s why it’s important to remember that for the 21st century, infrastructure does not mean only old-school stuff like roads, bridges and railroad tracks.
“It also ought to mean expansion of high-speed Internet cables into rural areas. The House bill included $6 billion in broadband grants and the Senate bill includes $9 billion. The number in the final bill may be somewhere in between, or it may change altogether. But this represents an important investment, and one that can help especially Northwoods Wisconsin to thrive economically in years to come. The legislation’s broadband grants will work as economic stimulus in the sense that some jobs will be created for producers, shippers and installers of the cable lines themselves. But the long-term economic benefits are even greater. Broadband availability will allow Northwoods tourism to thrive.”