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Chicken-Fried News: Invisible riches



An assistant professor at Oklahoma State University (OSU) is giving the people of rural Oklahoma what they want. No, not better grocery stores, a movie theater or jobs — broadband internet access, aka WiFi.

After waiting for decades, some of the state’s rural residents are finally going online without having to use dial-up service.

OSU associate professor Brian Whitacre argues that lack of access to broadband service affects citizens’ quality of life. How does he know? Because he researched it for years.

“Rural areas that lag behind in terms of broadband adoption have been shown to have lower income levels and higher levels of unemployment,” Whitacre told “Without high-speed connections, people don’t have good access to keep connected to family, do research on health, search for jobs or have good online resources for their children’s homework.” reported that Whitacre and colleagues across the country are bypassing nonexistent infrastructure — and some residents’ lack of interest (due to age or cost) — to deliver WiFi to rural folks. The researchers and public libraries are loaning out wireless hot spots for a week at a time in exchange for filling out surveys on usage habits and rating their satisfaction.

The hot-spot program is being implemented in four public libraries in the state and runs through April 2018. This great news makes us wanna sing, and y’all know how much we at Chicken-Fried News love a good musical!

Oooklahoma! Where the WiFi comes sweeping down the plain! And the waving wheat sure smells sweet when you aren’t knocked flat with outrageous streaming data tabs!

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