Mississippi ICF Institute Publishes First Ever Digital Divide Index - Dr. Roberto Gallardo of the Mississippi State University Extension Intelligent Community Institute has published a 50-state Digital Divide Index using data provided by the FCC. The DDI is a county-level index score (from 0 to 100) measuring the digital divide. MORE

A Virtual Metropolis in the Countryside? - By Norman Nacknis. People who live in big metropolises, like New York City, London or Hong Kong, often say that they can always find someone within a few miles who has a special skill they need to complete some project or build a business. I’ve pointed out that the close proximity of millions of people with so many different skills is part of what has made cities successful economic engines during the industrial era. MORE

The Last Big Barrier To A Rural Renaissance: Healthcare - By Norman Jacknis. I’ve written before about the ways that small towns and rural areas can take advantage of broadband Internet connections to gain access to global economic opportunities, educational and cultural resources, even the virtual equivalents of coffee shops that used to be only available in big cities. Perhaps the biggest remaining barrier to a 21st century rural renaissance is access to world class health care. MORE

Is this the Golden Age for the World’s Small Places? - By Robert Bell. Today, the 50 most prosperous cities in America produce 34% more economic output per person than the national average. Their populations are growing at 3 times the national rate. That’s because they are magnets for ambitious and talented workers and the companies that need their services to power growth. MORE

ICF Institute at Mississippi State University Issues Rural Broadband Research Reports - Last year, the ICF Institute at the Mississippi State University Extension Service issued a competitive call for research papers focusing on the impact of broadband on small rural communities. Three papers were recently chosen for publication on the Institute’s Web site. MORE

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