This was the headline in The Detroit News today. I have two things to say:
1. Hey Rick: FIX THE DAMN ROADS! If you've got money to do this, you should be spending it on the roads. I'll bet there would be a much bigger economic impact from good roads than broadband to 350,000 rural households. And if there are a couple of billion in positive economic impact in those 350,000 households, why aren't companies building the infrastructure themselves? They want to make money, don't they?
2. If the government has so botched and mismanaged road repairs over the years, why would anyone think government could construct and manage a project like this? Road technology doesn't change nearly as quickly as data infrastructure does (I know - I worked with a lot of it in my years in IT), so we'll end up with outdated infrastructure that will take more billions to upgrade in addition to the roads you've already messed up.