In the 1800’s, the expansion of the railways lead to the development of many of our communities in Cloud County. My hometown of Jamestown located itself on the Missouri Pacific Railroad. This new infrastructure was a way to transport people and products quickly and safely. It allowed people the ability to move out of the cities with the peace of mind that they would not be entirely isolated from the rest of the world.
The railways helped us reach our highest county population in 1890 of 19,295 people. Since that time, we have gradually seen our populations in rural America and Cloud County slip. Even the Federal Highway system of the 1950’s couldn’t help us maintain our numbers.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the next big infrastructure improvement that can help repopulate and grow rural America. I think that improvement is already here. While trains brought people and products faster and safer to rural America, fiber internet is making it faster and easier to exchange ideas, order products, and handle services.
Remember the battle for Google Fiber? In March of 2011, Kansas City, Kansas was selected as the first city to receive it and the world was jealous. Did you know that the fiber we have from Cunningham cable is faster and more secure than Google Fiber? Cunningham and Twin Valley are part of the Kansas Fiber Network. Because of their dedicated fiber to the customer and active network, they can offer more internet bandwidth than Google Fiber.
What can that mean for us? It means that we can go to that techy person in Kansas City or Omaha or California and give them the same high speed internet they are using in the city without the congestion the city has. We can give them that thing they absolutely need for work while also offering affordable living, easier transportation and safer neighborhoods. We al
ready have this infrastructure available. It’s up to us how we use this incredible tool to stabilize our communities.