Originally Appeared: The Hill on September 26, 2019
Internet access is increasingly essential for the growth and success of rural communities across the country. We recently visited Murfreesboro, N.C. — a town with less than 3,000 residents — for an Internet Community Crawl to hear directly from local business owners and community leaders about the impact of internet-enabled services in the rural community. What we learned from our visit is a story we hear all too often: Access to the internet isn’t always available or reliable, but it’s necessary if communities like Murfreesboro want to continue to prosper and keep pace with the rest of the world. The internet, and the online platforms and services people use every day, provides residents in Murfreesboro with endless resources at their fingertips, allows businesses to expand their reach and customer base, and helps communities to come together around shared interests.
Our crawl through Main Street included stops at the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce, Elizabeth S. Parker Memorial Library, Revelle Realty, and Tavern 125, each of which highlighted the critical role the internet plays in growing their organizations and strengthening the community. The town recently held its 34th Annual North Carolina Watermelon Festival in Historic Downtown Murfreesboro, and Chamber Executive Director Daryl Williams discussed how local and surrounding residents used social media to share festival updates, schedules and photos leading up to and after the beloved event.