Expanding Broadband in Rural America

The Federal Communications Commission has achieved a spectacular victory in the last decade, bringing broadband access to 95% of Americans. In 2003, they reported a decidedly less impressive figure of 15%. The Eighth Annual Broadband Progress Report nonetheless reported those numbers as a failure requiring “immediate action.” Subjective judgments aside, 80% of U.S. networks are capable of 100 megabit plus speeds, and its LTE deployment has overtaken many global mobile players.

Low-Income Rural Needs

An $8 billion Universal Service Fund has been made available to bring broadband to rural areas, schools, and low-income earners. Since the late 90s, America’s infrastructure has been deployed using private funding from broadband service providers. A staggering $66 billion has been used to this end.

Of all sparsely populated regions worldwide, the USA ranks first in terms of modem coverage. 19 million Americans lack broadband access, a figure that has been reduced by seven million. 55% of rural areas with broadband infrastructure have download speeds over 25 mbps, and improvements to this figure would be a boon to businesses in these areas.

Industries depend on the digital ecosystem, so it’s not surprising that a 2016 court ruling declared the internet a public utility. Farm equipment needs online troubleshooting, and environmental damage needs to be managed via real time online data. Rural areas also depend on broadband to access government services, but agricultural needs have a more direct effect on the economy and cannot be ignored.

The U.N released its own progress report in September 2017, reporting that a mere 48% of the global population has a broadband connection. So, the U.S. is well ahead of global standards, but the government is connecting with technology leaders for ideas about how to push coverage up to 100%.

Americom delivers inside plant and outside plant technology solutions throughout the Rocky Mountain region, a particularly challenging geography for infrastructure.

2018-09-03T22:07:00-06:00 November 29th, 2017|Tips & Tricks|