According to experts, rural residents are the least likely to access High-Speed Internet that are becoming increasingly important in modern society for work, education, and healthcare.
(TNS) – Residents who live far from cities may have an Internet connection. It may be via DSL, the oldest and slowest connection better known as dial-up, or via a “fixed wireless” connection for customers within sight of a cell tower or via satellite.
According to experts, however, rural residents are the least likely to have access to the unlimited high speed internet for rural areas, which is needed for work and education.
Below is a step-by-step guide to rural broadband and the hurdles advocates face.
What do you mean by “high-speed Internet”?
We’re talking about online speeds of at least 25 megabits per second (Mbps). This is typically achieved when fiber optic cables carry the information most of the way to the destination. The electronic data is then carried over wired connections through what engineers call “the last mile” to businesses or homes. In addition, some major cities offer the option of direct fiber-optic connections, which increase speeds many times over.
What kind of Internet is available to residents of rural areas?
Most have some type of Internet connection. This may be via DSL, which uses telephone lines and a modem. Some versions of DSL can scrape the 25 Mbps limit, which allows ISPs to refer to areas covered by DSL as “high-speed areas.” Others use “fixed wireless,” which reaches households within sight of a cell tower or a satellite connection, which has limited capacity to transmit information.
If rural areas can access the Internet in other ways, what is important about a high-speed connection?
A high-speed connection impacts workers who communicate online and children who participate in distance learning. It directly impacts a city’s economic health and increases its attractiveness as a potential place to live. Speed also impacts production.
“Digital technologies in agriculture, including precision agriculture, can significantly increase crop and livestock yields, improve distribution, and reduce input costs,” according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. “However, without reliable, affordable high-speed Internet connectivity both on the farm and in the field, many of these technologies cannot reach their full potential.”
How many rural communities don’t have access to high-speed Internet?
That’s debatable. In 2016, the Federal Communications Commission reported that 39% of rural residents lack broadband access. By 2020, that number will drop to 21 million. However, an investigation by BroadbandNow, a Los Angeles-based online database of Internet services, found that the FCC had underestimated the number by nearly half. The actual number was about 42 million, it said.
BroadbandNow determined its estimate by randomly running more than 11,000 addresses manually. It is through the “availability check” of the nine largest service providers in those areas. The analysis is based on an examination of Form 477, which Internet service providers file twice a year with the FCC. On those forms, the researchers said, providers counted high-speed “service” for an entire census block, even if only one resident had it.
“They survey each provider and ask, ‘Hey, do you have service here?'” said Tyler Cooper, editor-in-chief of BroadbandNow. “And if they say, ‘Yes, we have service at one of these addresses,’ the FCC turns the whole area green.”
Doesn’t the FCC have maps that show its staff which areas have high-speed Internet access?
Yes, but those maps are based on the same data submitted by service providers on Form 477, Cooper said. The release of the FCC’s report in May 2019 even prompted objections from some commissioners. Who accused their colleagues of accepting inflated broadband availability estimates.
“No matter who you are or where you live in this country. You need access to advanced communications to have a fair shot at 21st-century technology,”. Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel wrote in a dissenting opinion. “That’s why it’s so disappointing that we have to make an honest assessment with this report.”
Why can’t millions of Americans in rural areas get high-speed Internet?
That’s not for lack of support. Democrats and Republicans, including Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump, have called for the expansion of high-speed Internet across the country. However, economic reasons stand in the way. Moreover, Infrastructure is expensive to install, and companies are reluctant to take it on in sparsely populated areas. Estimates of what the federal government would have to spend to shoulder the burden range from $80 billion to $150 billion.
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