A man hitchhikes down a lonely stretch of highway in Stockton, Kansas. When rural America was chronicled 50 years ago by Jack Kerouac in his autobiographical novel "On the Road", it was an America full of promise and economic potential, where the majestic openness of the land was entwined with the cult of the automobile. Today, partly due to the loss of the independent family farm, rural America is a state of economic and demographic decline.

A man hitchhikes down a lonely stretch of highway in Stockton, Kansas. When rural America was chronicled 50 years ago by Jack Kerouac in his autobiographical novel "On the Road", it was an America full of promise and economic potential, where the majestic openness of the land was entwined with the cult of the automobile. Today, partly due to the loss of the independent family farm, rural America is a state of economic and demographic decline.

If this page loaded for you almost instantaneously after you clicked on it, there’s a solid chance you’re not currently living in rural Kansas.

More than 95,000 people, about 3.5 percent of the state’s population, don’t have internet access.

And it’s not just the more rural areas. According to the nonprofit Connected Nation, pockets of suburbs in Kansas City and Dodge City were lacking in high-speed internet coverage.

Nationally, 24 percent of rural adults say that internet service coverage is a major problem where they live. An additional 34 percent classify this as a minor problem, meaning that 58 percent of rural Americans believe this to be a challenge.

Why are these areas underserved? What can be done to fix the problem? A Kansas reporter and rancher sit down with us to discuss.

Produced by Kathryn Fink.

Guests

  • Corinne Boyer Reporter, Kansas News Service, High Plains Public Radio; @Corinne_Boyer
  • Tiya Tonn Owner, Satchel Creek Ranch;@SatchelCreek

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