Ninety-nine percent of pay-TV subscribers rent their conversion box from their TV provider, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.  Consumers' inability to choose their own box results in higher prices, Wheeler said.

Speak Your Piece: Unlocking ‘the Box’ Will Help Rural America

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed opening up the marketplace to allow consumers to purchase their “cable boxes” from third parties instead of being stuck paying whatever the pay-TV provider wants to charge. This change, along with better ways to watch video via digital devices, will be a big help to rural areas, which can’t get over-the-air TV as easily as cities, says a communications policy expert.... READ MORE

The study found a correlation between the use of broadband and many measures of civic engagement in rural (nonmetropolitan) U.S. counties. In these charts, the instance of voting and contacting a public official in rural counties went up as rates of broadband "adoption," or use, increased. (Data Source for all graphs: 2011 Current Population  Survey and Federal Communications Commission Industry Analysis and Technology Division)

Use of Broadband Linked to Greater Levels of Civic Engagement

Rural residents who use broadband are more likely to vote, belong to a group, trust their neighbors, and do other activities that indicate civic participation. But researchers saw this difference only when residents used broadband, not just when it was theoretically available. That may have implications for how public broadband programs should focus their efforts.... READ MORE

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Letter from Langdon: Consider the Corporations

Like the lilies of the field, corporations don’t toil. But they sure do spin a good story about their need for mega-mergers to keep profits up. Thank goodness they’ve got farmers to do the work for them.

... READ MORE

RDI’s Acting Executive Director (and author of this article) Heidi Khokhar with USDA Rural Development Oregon State Director Vicki Walker at the Embracing Our Treasure conference in Ontario, Oregon.

Speak Your Piece: To Solve Local Problems, Local People Are Experts

One set of solutions for creating stronger communities comes from helping local people acquire skills to identify and address their own problems. When local passion combines with local expertise, the result can be “community economic vitality.”... READ MORE

The Dakota Access Pipeline under construction in August, as seen near New Salem, North Dakota. Photo by Tony Webster/Flickr

Trahant: Who Gets to Tell the Standing Rock Story?

The “official” stories about the oil-pipeline protest in North Dakota are only plausible if you ignore history and keep your distance.... READ MORE

Photo by Lance Booth.

In the Black: Matchmaker

Lonnie’s stories could turn a five-minute job into a two-hour monologue. Sometimes he might have even been telling the truth.... READ MORE

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CORRECTION: In Another Census Report, Rural Incomes, Poverty Improved

A Census report that said rural incomes had fallen and poverty had increased from 2014 to 2015 made an erroneous comparison. In fact, another report shows that income and poverty rates improved in nonmetropolitan counties during the period.... READ MORE

Clockwise, from top-left: Nearly 200 miles separate Navajo Mountain from Monticello in San Juan County, Utah. The trip requires drivers to  travel south into Arizona then north to the county seat. Between the two destinations rests Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Photo by Erin Vogel-Fox/News21. Mural on the side of a trading post that sold goods from tribes in the Navajo Nation near Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Mike Lakusiak/News21. A small American flag hangs from the post of a stop sign near the Tsé Kichíí (Red Rock) chapter house near Gallup, New Mexico. Photo by Marianna Hauglie/News21. The Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe conducted its 149th annual Wacipi, also known as a powwow, during the Fourth of July weekend in South Dakota. It is the second-oldest Wacipi in the nation. The tribe chose this date because at the time it was illegal for them to practice their religious ceremonies. They could pass off their cultural celebration as a Fourth of July festivity. Mike Lakusiak/News21.

Native Americans still fighting for voting equality

Distance and language barriers have long  hindered Native Americans in the voting process. Recent voting procedure changes and the weakening of the Voting Rights Act have only made things worse, advocates say.... READ MORE

Estimated median household income climbed for cities and suburbs from 2014 to 2015, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Rural residents did not see an increase and may have actually lost ground during the period. There was a similar gap between cities and countryside in poverty estimates during the same period. The poverty rate improved for metro areas (both principal cities and suburbs) but stayed the same or got worse in rural areas. (Daily Yonder graphic based on U.S. Census Bureau data in “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015.”

CORRECTED: While Most of U.S. Gets a Raise, Rural Areas Stand Pat

(A separate Daily Yonder story calls into question the findings of this Census report. Readers are encouraged to consider this article in light of these other findings.) In another sign that the economic recovery is moving very slowly for rural America, median household incomes for rural Americans didn’t improve from 2014 to 2015 while they did for metropolitan areas.... READ MORE

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