Former U.S. Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia will be in Bend on Friday to speak about the importance of providing broadband service to rural communities in America. "Broadband serves as a bridge that connects rural communities to the balance of the nation's economy. There was a time when businesses had to be located in urban areas. They had to be in physical proximity to their customers, their clients and their suppliers. But with broadband, it's possible now for businesses to be located almost anywhere and maintain virtual proximity with their business base." Boucher says not only providing access to all Americans; having broadband capabilities could allow rural students to take advantage of educational opportunities and connects patients to more healthcare options, and much more. Boucher will be speaking at the Oregon Economic Development Association Summer Conference at the Oxford Hotel Friday.