For Internet Access, Rural Students Have to Hit the Road

For Internet Access, Rural Students Have to Hit the Road 1

Lance Murphey for The Chronicle

After his family moved to a neighborhood with high-speed Internet, Dakota Bates, a student at the Missouri State U. at West Plains, started inviting classmates over to use his computer.

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close For Internet Access, Rural Students Have to Hit the Road 1

Lance Murphey for The Chronicle

After his family moved to a neighborhood with high-speed Internet, Dakota Bates, a student at the Missouri State U. at West Plains, started inviting classmates over to use his computer.

Dakota Q. Bates used to spend his hourlong commute to college watching the hills and cattle roll by. Steering a 10-year-old Dodge Ram pickup, the 21-year-old drove four days a week from his home just outside Alton, Mo., to Missouri State University at West Plains, passing nearly 40 miles of green farmland in steadfast pursuit of an associate degree from the two-year institution. "I'd listen to the radio, roll down the windows, and just drive," Mr. Bates says.

He made the drive twice