The key to bringing broadband to rural areas, particularly where it is difficult to justify on an economic basis, is local leadership. The necessary leadership includes multiple people from organizations that include telecommunications, financial and the governing entities.
In the above interview, filmed at NTCA’s 2015 RTIME and originally aired the 2015 MTA Convention and Conference, Kevin Larson, General Manager of CTC, describes a public-private partnership of a relatively local service provider with a local government and economic development agency that paved the way for fiber broadband in Little Falls, MN. As Larson describes, the public entity financed the fiber build and leases the infrastructure to CTC, which operates the network.
The rewards of such a partnership are economic development either in the form of new business or the expansion of existing businesses thanks to the upgraded infrastructure. He cites a global software producer, Atomic Learning, that has benefited from fiber in Little Falls. Larson explains that patience is needed for these types of projects, where government entities are involved (see this interview from 2012, where the Little Falls, MN project was touched upon and still in the discussion stage).
He points out that the public-private partnership approach model is a good one for elected bodies that, by their nature, find it difficult to move at the speed of technology.