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Marketplace Morning Report

For small-town economic success, broadband is the new railroad

Peggy Lowe Apr 17, 2019
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Emporia, Kansas, population 24,700, has always been home to manufacturing. City leaders now hope to bring more technology jobs to the area.
Peggy Lowe/KCUR 89.3

Residents of Emporia, Kansas, weren’t laughing when the satirical news site The Onion named it “best small town to escape from” in 2017. In fact, “brain drain” from rural areas has been a problem across the country for decades. But Emporia has a new plan that harks back to its business past, a railroad hub that helped spur a local manufacturing base. Thanks to an existing local fiber network and help from the Rural Innovation Initiative, Emporia is hoping to become a rural tech hub, with an incubator for entrepreneurs who will bring jobs to the area.

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