"In other news, water is wet", you might think. And yet the recent study published by the USDA (see USDA Study Finds Rural Communities Benefit From Greater Broadband Internet Acess) is a landmark in that it demonstrates on the basis of sound economic work the positive benefit of broadband to rural communities.
There's a lot of debate about the Stimulus process, aims and efficiency in the US right now, and it's hard, it seems, to anticipate the positive windfall of the program at this stage. But from where I'm sitting there's already one positive consequence of the program, and that is that we are at long last seeing serious economic analysis applied to broadband.
In other words, the argument that more or better access to internet means more economic activity is no longer a "belief" or a "modeled theory", it's increasingly a proven correlation. And that's good news for FTTH development.