One of the poorest, most desperate regions in Appalachia is experiencing an economic miracle thanks to fiber run by a New Deal-era co-op

Originally published at:


using a mule called “Old Bub” to haul fiber through inaccessible mountain passes and other extremely isolated places.

I can’t express how much I love this image. “Old Bub” should become an American symbol of how traditional co-ops and modern services can work together to benefit everyone.


This would make a great documentary series - in the vein of the old ‘news blurbs’ - small vignette type pieces that showcase how government and public options actually make people’s lives better - the youtube series.


But - how will you pay for it? /s


Imagine if we had a world where rich billionaires funded pieces like this instead of buying attack ads on tv to run for president.

There are rich progressives (so I’ve heard) - I think the money is there, they just need a project that they can actually understand and get behind - this is exactly the kind of thing that would make an impact long term and not require evangelizing themselves - and that’s not shame - most people won’t get involved if it requires evangelizing - that’s why protesters are so powerful.


The Internet is not a big truck.


Hugely appropriate, considering the logo of the Democrat Party is a donkey.
Shame, really, it ought to be the other way around, seeing as the Republicans are led by a complete jackass.


I was thinking that, but then I remembered that the DNC establishment never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


As much as this story is heartwarming

reads to me like, “gentrification is on the way and all the poors will eventually be driven out”


Old Bub 2020


If it’s an example of a working non-market based solution you can bet almost any odds that the Republicans are right now looking for a way to destroy it to ‘save’ it.

Double down since it comes from a New Deal project by the hated FDR, surpassed only by Obama (Brown skin) and Hilary (Not a Man) in terms of who to focus the daily hate upon.


I love reading stories like this of positive results from government programs.

So many positive stories seem focused on programs that are part of the social safety net. Don’t get me wrong I am much on favor of those programs. It’s just nice to see one that is focused on making the future better rather than helping those we’ve failed.

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Why is this not being used in a Sanders, or Warren ad buy is beyond me. I seriously wonder if one of them would benefit from saying that under their leadership the stock price of verizon would slam to zero because they would unleash both municipal internet and concureent upgrades (like when you have your lead pupes replaced and at the same time get inderground fiber and power cables installed dropping the price of installation for all three to the cost of one installation).

I’d love to hear Warren or Sanders do a fireside chat talking about “old bub”.

Extra points if they try to propose a corporate death penalty bill for Verizon called the “Ajit Pai/Verizon” municipal internet bill.


$50k/mile is apparently pretty efficient work. CenturyStinks charged our rural subdivision $75k/mile to just get fiber reasonably close. The last mile of POTS copper still seriously degrades available bandwidth. I guess ol’ Bub is a lot cheaper than a diesel cable plow. How does 'ol Bub cable laying even work? I can’t see him pulling a cable plow through virgin ground. Is the cable just laying on the ground?

Yeah, I’m still stuck on this (emphasis mine):

Teleworks USA (which trains people for remote work, especially tech support and customer service), the coop has created high-paying, sustainable jobs


There is precedent…



Sounds more like local syndicalism with smart institutional support. Waitaminute…


I knew someone who had a party line phone till around 1995 at least. He lived on a farm, and the phone company wanted money to string a new line. I gather he wan’t the only one in that situation , so infrastructure can be expensive.

This id a return to the past. The first local ISP was a few computers in a closet, hookrd up to a now low bandwidth pipe. Tyey even set it up as a non-profit, I think because they couldn’t imagine profit back in the early nineties. Later they wanted to sell it, but the non-profit nature limited what could happen. In late 2005 they were bought by a non-profit phone company (dating from a long time ago), one of the few ootions. But they basically made the decision before asking the members, the change happened before the AGM. I just walked away.

But there was a story some months back about a place up north where someone learnrd about how to do it and set up a coop to get high speed internet (via satellite). They got better bandwidth, and pricing, than the existing commercial local company could offer. I think simikar things have happened elsewhere in recent times.

Poor Old Bub, having to haul loads and loads of tubes through those hills just so poor hillbillies can holler through them.


That’s more an Alaska thing, where the mule is named Old Ted.