Fayette the next Silicon Valley? Don’t laugh . . .

Fayette County the next Silicon Valley? Sound farfetched? Maybe so, but Fayette has been ranked high in a list of 20 “micropolitan” areas identified by Business Insider as a top candidate possessing what the publication says is the right criteria to be poised for a high-tech boom.

The premise of the Oct. 24 story contends that there are millions of budding entrepreneurs outside America’s existing technology centers. But unlike in times past, the spread of broadband Internet access across the United States is paving the way for a different type of entrepreneurial and corporate expansion.

Adding to the potential for expansion are the existence of communities with populations of 10,000-50,000 that are considered by the U.S. Census Bureau to “micropolitan statistical areas.”

Business Insider in reviewing the census data discovered 20 micropolitan areas “that meet certain demographic requirements for a budding technology economy. These factors include a high level of broadband accessibility, a sizable workforce (in relative terms), a vibrant local economy and the presence of a small college or university,” Business Insider said.

The findings also noted that the 20 locations identified have unemployment rates of up to five points lower than the national average and the top five have a broadband availability of 100 percent, the report said, adding that from a broader view all the communities were equal in their potential.

So what does the list look like?

First on the list is Craighead County, Arkansas, followed by Fayette County, Georgia and Story County, Iowa. Rounding out the top five are counties in Iowa and Louisiana. The top 20 list also includes Maryland, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, West Virginia and New Hampshire.

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