Rural Montana Life Community Groups
The Town of [Wild Horse] Plains, in the Cabinet Mountians Valley of western Montana, was named for the thousands of wild horses grazing in the mild winter months a century ago. The residents of the Plains area are the members of community groups who vision, plan, and work together on community goals.
Use Broadband Internet to
Revitalize Main Streets
US Environmental Protection Agency
How small towns can use broadband [Interrnet]
to revitalize Main Streets, create economic opportunity,
and protect the natural environment
Through the Cool & Connected planning assistance program, EPA and USDA helped 21 small towns to leverage local broadband service to attract investment and people. Each town developed strategies and an action plan, engaging local businesses, residents, and organizations to expand the use of broadband and recognize its importance in diversifying their economies. The action plans typically emphasized ways to bring people and investment to Main Streets, creating opportunities for higher economic returns and the potential to protect the natural environment by focusing on development in compact, walkable neighbourhoods.
The results of the Cool & Connected program suggested several particular approaches that small towns can consider as they work to expand and leverage their broadband service. These lessons can help communities deploy federal and other available funds for broadband in ways that revive the local economy while also protecting the environment.
[Bring together] people to make community decisions, making special efforts to hear from those who don't typically participate in community meetings. Develop strategies and a plan with the specific actions your community will take to use broadband to support Main Street and create economic opportunities (last para.).