Bolstered by billions in federal stimulus money, an effort is under way around the country to expand broadband Internet access to rural areas. The ambitious 21st-century infrastructure project parallels the New Deal electrification of the nation's hinterlands in the 1930s and 1940s.
Then, it was power to the people - for farm equipment and living-room lamps, cow-milking machines and kitchen appliances. Now, it's online access - to YouTube and digital downloads, to videoconferencing and Facebook, to eBay and digital downloads.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act set aside $7.2 billion for expansion of broadband access, believing it will spur economic growth, boost educational opportunities and create jobs.