BROADBAND BREAKFAST INSIGHT: The role of wireless, which is one key piece of the broadband puzzle for rural areas, will be considered at the New America Foundation on Tuesday at Noon, together with Kelsey Guyselman, policy advisor at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and an array of industry players.
Spectrum as Infrastructure: Connecting Rural America
The rural broadband gap remains stubbornly wide despite the billions of dollars in federal subsidies paid out to large internet service providers.
More than 15 million Americans in rural and Tribal areas still lack access to fixed (home) broadband at the 25/3 megabits per second speeds that meet the minimum definition of “broadband” service adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In comparison, 98 percent of Americans living in urban areas have access to high-speed fixed broadband. A big barrier to expanding high-speed broadband, of course, is the difficulty of deploying infrastructure.
This rural broadband gap puts millions of families at a severe disadvantage when it comes to equal opportunities in business, education, healthcare, government services, and civic participation. A lack of affordable high-speed broadband perpetuates inequality overall, since one of many adverse impacts is a “homework gap” that afflicts roughly 12 million school children lacking the broadband at home they need to complete homework assignments.