The Digital Divide

Small towns that lack high-speed Internet access find it harder to attract new jobs

Wiley Middleton is exactly the sort of fellow whom small towns love to welcome home. A 45-year-old graphics designer who honed his craft in bigger cities, Middleton moved back to his native Leadville, Colo., 18 months ago, eager to trade urban pressures for the serenity of this historic mining town of 3,421. But Leadville's telephone system is quaint too, and won't let his computer modem send the digital images that are his livelihood. This regularly forces Middleton to drive two hours to Denver to deliver electronic designs for brochures and ads. "I can't compete," he laments, again facing the prospect of...

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