Many Rural Americans Lack Access to High Speed Internet in Their Area

cageymaru

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In a new Pew Research Center survey, 24% of rural Americans complained of not having access to broadband internet and consider it to be a major issue in their area. Another 34% think that not having access to high-speed internet in their area is only a minor problem; which means that 58% of rural Americans seek some form of broadband internet in their area. These citizens also tend to buy less smartphones, but the survey doesn't say if broadband internet is available on the cellular networks in those rural areas.

Concerns about access to high-speed internet are shared by rural residents from various economic backgrounds. For example, 20% of rural adults whose household income is less than $30,000 a year say access to high speed internet is a major problem, but so do 23% of rural residents living in households earning $75,000 or more annually. These sentiments are also similar between rural adults who have a bachelor's or advanced degree and those with lower levels of educational attainment.
 

brentsg

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I live in a pretty affluent region, and within a mile of the largest, best high school in the area.. Yet I still have exactly 1 option for high speed internet.

Even though I have access, I still consider that to be a problem. When (not if) they decide to shove it up my rear.. and when (not if) they have service outages.. nothing you can do about it. Sure that's a better situation than the rural areas with jack shit, but it still sucks.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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So... What you're saying is, that these streaming only games as a service schemes are going to fail. Best news I've heard all day!


I don't know about that.

Only a small minority of Americans live in rural areas these days
(Fewer than 20%, probably close to 15% now), so these streaming services can likely survive without them as customers.
 

James Robinson

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TCI ... in Cali.. for the LONGEST time, actually was calling 28k dial-up 'broadband'.. obviously this was back in the 90s, but they charged a horrendous fee for 120 DSL ... was insane
 

Nobu

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I have a few options at 20mbps, two or three at 40. Or I can get 4g through att. They're all overpriced, though. (Minumum $40 before equipment and other misc fees, $25 if you bundle with $60 tv package)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Sometimes I have to acknowledge how lucky I've been in this regard.

First time I had broadband was when I moved into my college dorm freshman year in the fall of 1999. We were the first dorm on campus wired for Ethernet the summer before I moved in.

After that experience I found I was miserable at home without it the summer of 2000. My parents didn't want to get it, so I told them I'd pay. It was Roadrunner 1.5Mbit/768kbit cable, not bad for 2000. After experiencing it for a couple of months that summer, they decided to keep it for themselves when I went back to campus.

The summer between my Junior and Senior years I had 1mbit/256kbit DSL in the farm house in rural western Mass I rented a room in for my summer internship. It wasn't what I was used to, but it was passable.

After graduating I moved to Providence, RI. I had cable internet there. Can't remember the speeds. 5mbit down, 1mbit up maybe? It was OK. Again, not terrible for 2003.

Then moved back to the Boston area. Had varying degrees of slowly improving Comcast service for a few years and then in 2009 Verizon FiOS came to town.

I had 35/5 service for a few years (I think) then 75/15 (I think) and then at some point (2011?) They matched upstream with downstream. Had 75/75 for a while, then 150/150. In 2015 (I think) I upped that to 300/300 when it became available. Gigabit was around for a while, but it was over $300 per month, until in 2017 suddenly it wasn't, and I upped it to gigabit/gigabit.

I'm no fan of the cable companies, but over the last almost 20 years I really can't complain about the broadband availability anywhere I've lived.
 

Dead Parrot

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One of the reasons for rural folks being a bit slower on smartphone adoption could be that a lot of rural areas also suck for cell reception. A lot of those solid coverage areas the companies tout should really resemble a well used shotgun target. The place where I now live seems to only have decent coverage from AT&T.
 

seanreisk

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I live on the edge of a large national forest, in a town with a population of 3,000. The nearest Walmart is 50 miles away, the nearest 'city' is almost 200. I feel pretty lucky, I pay Frontier about $80 a month for dual line bonded DSL and my service has been reasonable (in the ISP market, if you don't have a real reason to complain, you've been getting fantastic service.) But if you travel 4 miles out of town, you are shit for nuttin', baby. About 60% of the farmers in my area don't get cell service. Some people still have a party line.

But I'd like to use three words to really stir the pot - SPACEX BROADBAND INTERNET! I'm yearning for it, baby, I am excited! Let's blow down the monopolies and introduce the serious competition! I want to see SpaceX wave their big 'competition' wenis right in Comcast's face!
 

Brian_B

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I live on the edge of a large national forest, in a town with a population of 3,000. The nearest Walmart is 50 miles away, the nearest 'city' is almost 200. I feel pretty lucky, I pay Frontier about $80 a month for dual line bonded DSL and my service has been reasonable (in the ISP market, if you don't have a real reason to complain, you've been getting fantastic service.) But if you travel 4 miles out of town, you are shit for nuttin', baby. About 60% of the farmers in my area don't get cell service. Some people still have a party line.

But I'd like to use three words to really stir the pot - SPACEX BROADBAND INTERNET! I'm yearning for it, baby, I am excited! Let's blow down the monopolies and introduce the serious competition! I want to see SpaceX wave their big 'competition' wenis right in Comcast's face!

Similar situation here - I moved, my ISP went from 3MB radio to 12MB DSL. But, since there is 25MB HughesNet in the area, my area has Broadband...

SpaceX - cautiously optimistic there. Could be really exciting if they can pull something off. I don't trust a lot of what comes out of Elon's piehole though.
 

Bigbacon

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Ok, i think america.knows this already. We also all know that nothing will ever be done ti fix that.

To me unless.its wired it is t real internet because you cant do everything well without it.
 

cageymaru

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well that cant be- the gubment just recently said that the broadband internet world was thriving and there were no areas that were not served.
In my area they run broadband to the houses on the main road that eventually connects to an interstate 50 miles away. Since the main road; and only the main road has broadband, this means that the entire area is covered according to the government. So if you live on a road that connects to the main road then you're still screwed. On the Federal map our area is 100% broadband covered even though only those on that one road are covered.
 
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It took Frontier till 2018 to finally get me 1mb download that actually stayed on 90% of the time. I get cell service, but it typically maxes out at around 240kb/s. And the only cell provider that offers an unlimited plan still has a complete blanket deadzone in my area.

Service industries like this need better citizen representation and local and state governments need to finally balls up and push them into line.
 

lcpiper

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I have a few options at 20mbps, two or three at 40. Or I can get 4g through att. They're all overpriced, though. (Minumum $40 before equipment and other misc fees, $25 if you bundle with $60 tv package)


Those are not horrendous prices from what I pay. I'm paying $80 a month for 11mbps up and 2.2mbps down speeds over cable. No TV, no phone, just internet access+fees and taxes.
 

Bigbacon

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Those are not horrendous prices from what I pay. I'm paying $80 a month for 11mbps up and 2.2mbps down speeds over cable. No TV, no phone, just internet access+fees and taxes.

67.99 for 24/2 here with frontier. Before dec 2014 it was 1mb/384k. They put.in so.e fiber trunk line or whatever itis.
 

lcpiper

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24% of rural Americans complained of not having access to broadband internet and consider it to be a major issue in their area. Another 34% think that not having access to high-speed internet in their area is only a minor problem; which means that 58% of rural Americans seek some form of broadband internet in their area. These citizens also tend to buy less smartphones, but the survey doesn't say if broadband internet is available on the cellular networks in those rural areas.

Concerns about access to high-speed internet are shared by rural residents from various economic backgrounds. For example, 20% of rural adults whose household income is less than $30,000 a year say access to high speed internet is a major problem, but so do 23% of rural residents living in households earning $75,000 or more annually. These sentiments are also similar between rural adults who have a bachelor's or advanced degree and those with lower levels of educational attainment.


In 2016,
“Rural areas cover 97 percent of the nation's land area but contain 19.3 percent of the population (about 60 million people),” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said.Dec 8, 2016
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-210.html

60 million out of over 320 million.

So out of 60 million, 24% are saying they aren't getting broadband access, so that's what, just under 16 million?, and these 16 million are scattered acrossed the 97% of the countryside that isn't rural. So what is the best solution to provide some form of broadband access to 16+ million people who live scattered to the four winds accrossed the length and breadth of such a large land mass?

https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/best-satellite-internet-providers/

I do not see a problem here that needs fixing.

Yes it's more expensive, but living in the country comes with many advantages and many disadvantages and that's just how it is.

I'm sorry if you don't have a clear view of the southern sky.
 

Nobu

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Those are not horrendous prices from what I pay. I'm paying $80 a month for 11mbps up and 2.2mbps down speeds over cable. No TV, no phone, just internet access+fees and taxes.
Yeah, I managed to talk att into giving me a $35 10mbps plan (not a plan they actually officially provide to my area, or at all afaik), ends up being $40 after equip, etc.. Worked well for a while, but has been spotty since an electrical storm knocked out the power.
 

Jailer

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I don't know about that.

Only a small minority of Americans live in rural areas these days
(Fewer than 20%, probably close to 15% now), so these streaming services can likely survive without them as customers.

Good lets keep it that way. You city folk can have your urban life, just keep it way from me.

And stay off my lawn.
 

zkostik

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Sometimes I have to acknowledge how lucky I've been in this regard.

First time I had broadband was when I moved into my college dorm freshman year in the fall of 1999. We were the first dorm on campus wired for Ethernet the summer before I moved in.

After that experience I found I was miserable at home without it the summer of 2000. My parents didn't want to get it, so I told them I'd pay. It was Roadrunner 1.5Mbit/768kbit cable, not bad for 2000. After experiencing it for a couple of months that summer, they decided to keep it for themselves when I went back to campus.

The summer between my Junior and Senior years I had 1mbit/256kbit DSL in the farm house in rural western Mass I rented a room in for my summer internship. It wasn't what I was used to, but it was passable.

After graduating I moved to Providence, RI. I had cable internet there. Can't remember the speeds. 5mbit down, 1mbit up maybe? It was OK. Again, not terrible for 2003.

Then moved back to the Boston area. Had varying degrees of slowly improving Comcast service for a few years and then in 2009 Verizon FiOS came to town.

I had 35/5 service for a few years (I think) then 75/15 (I think) and then at some point (2011?) They matched upstream with downstream. Had 75/75 for a while, then 150/150. In 2015 (I think) I upped that to 300/300 when it became available. Gigabit was around for a while, but it was over $300 per month, until in 2017 suddenly it wasn't, and I upped it to gigabit/gigabit.

I'm no fan of the cable companies, but over the last almost 20 years I really can't complain about the broadband availability anywhere I've lived.

It's been kind of the same here in DC area where for a long time Comcast was the only broadband and even that took a long time to come and replace dialup. I think well until 2004 or 2005 there was no broadband at all. Then it was a same issue with slow FIOS expansion and higher tiers had exorbitant cost. FIOS 300 tier was pretty much around $300. Last year it finally came into affordable rate when Verizon began offering gigabit all over the place. I do like having symmetrical gigabit so my connection is pretty much never is a bottleneck. However I find that very few services can take advantage of it, pretty much only Steam is often able to go all the way and max it out. It sure was nice preloading Shadow of Tomb Raider at 120 megabytes per second. I wish expansion was better though so more people sub and prices further come down. However as always there's no competition around (well, competitor Comcast charges about the same) so prices are still too high and only new subscribers get good deals and everyone already subbed gets a shaft.
 

jedijeb13

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Let's also not forget about those who technically have access to broadband, but it's one provider and shitty 1.5mb up/384k down or close to that. These days, with the amount of data required to view your average website, that might as well be 56k.

It isn't a problem that it can't be offered at a decent price, the problem is the large telcos just won't do it. My parents live 20 miles for any town of 1500 people or less and there is an independent telco there Brandenburg Telephone Company(BBTel) and my parents have a the lowest package offered and it is 2mb down at about $40 per month and they could get higher if they wanted it. Myself, I live about 100 miles from them only 5 miles outside a city of 18,000 people near I69 and the best I can get from ATT is 1.5mb down and that gets sketchy at times and that combined with a local land line only, no long distance at all no options bare bones package costs me $85 per month. I was on dialup until about 8 years ago because ATT refused to upgrade any lines outside of city limits period. My work is on the opposite side of town and less than 3 miles outside of town, actually within the city limits because they annexed the area of the industrial park, and up until 5 years ago we had to piggyback on to another companies T1 to get broadband there as ATT still didn't offer DSL there, even though there is a GE Aircraft engine plant in the industrial park. ATT just doesn't care if they stiff anyone living outside of a town.

They can do it, and they took money from the government almost 20 years ago that was supposed to push high speed internet out to rural areas and then didn't use it for that. We had better service in rural areas back when we were served by the baby Bells like Bell South before ATT bought back all the small companies they were broken up into years ago. A monopoly was broken up and should never have been allowed to come back together, more competition would have served everyone better over the years and we might be closer to what other countries have, like South Korea where almost everyone has had access to gigabit service for years now.

I have a few options at 20mbps, two or three at 40. Or I can get 4g through att. They're all overpriced, though. (Minumum $40 before equipment and other misc fees, $25 if you bundle with $60 tv package)
 

Shadowed

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1mbps down 96kbps upload here. ISP quoted me $12000 to add a line to support 2mbps.

Needless to say, I have to pay for my DSL and a Satellite line to have a sufficient bandwidth. It is not enough.
 

Brian_B

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Those are not horrendous prices from what I pay. I'm paying $80 a month for 11mbps up and 2.2mbps down speeds over cable. No TV, no phone, just internet access+fees and taxes.

For my 3/3 symmetrical radio with no data cap, it was $185/mo, with a $650 setup.

My current DSL is 12/1.2, it's $88/mo.

Better deal it seems, but the wired DSL actually has more issues than the radio. When it works, it's faster. But it doesn't always work.
 

steakman1971

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I moved from the suburbs to a rural area about 20 years ago. I was only about 50 minutes (all back roads, no highway) from where I worked, so the location was nice. When I got home, I could piss off my front porch and no one would see me if I were so inclined (no comment if I did or not...)
However, I only had dial up as an option. DSL was supposed to be coming (although the road I lived on, which was at least 5 miles long, had maybe 10 houses total and cows/soybeans). No cable tv, but at the time I had DirecTV so I was ok there. After a few years, I gave up. It wasn't the only reason, but it was one.
I remember checking into Hughes satellite internet, but concluded it was stupidly expensive and wasn't that great.
I haven't kept in touch with any of my old neighbors (one dude used to come over and drink beer with us when we had bonfires), but I'd imagine it's probably about the same as before. Maybe a few more houses now. Land was cheap out there.
I now have a cable modem and pretty good speed. I also have a choice of two providers. No complaints (except I can't piss off my porch now)
 

IRSmurf

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Burying cable is ridiculously expensive. What rural homes need is high-cap LTE wireless service to a modem in their home with a roof-mounted antenna built at the homeowners expense. With little to no competition in these neighborhoods, you're going to have to vote for state officials willing to twist VZWT&T balls for the increased bandwidth on 700 MHz. Good luck with that.

Subsidizing rural services sucks. But so does the effect of leaving rural youth disconnected from the outside world.
 

gamerk2

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I do not see a problem here that needs fixing.

Yes it's more expensive, but living in the country comes with many advantages and many disadvantages and that's just how it is.

I'm sorry if you don't have a clear view of the southern sky.

You're repeating the same arguments from nearly a century ago against expanding electricity to rural areas. You want to know how it eventually happened? The Federal Government did it, on their own dime.

A century later, the way to solve the problem is exactly the same.
 

viper1152012

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Open market, competition, consumer options, blah blah blah.

Usa is big and most people live in large cities so they don't care about you.

Sorry.... Move
 

PenGunn

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Let's also not forget about those who technically have access to broadband, but it's one provider and shitty 1.5mb up/384k down or close to that. These days, with the amount of data required to view your average website, that might as well be 56k.

I dunno. I have for the last 6 months had 8mB down and 1 up, but before that I had DSL at 700k and 150k and you know it was fine. Less lag that my much faster wireless I have now and it streamed video on youtube just fine. Now I can DL a show in a couple of minutes, and Doom took an almost reasonable amount of time, but my DSL connection worked well.
 

Snowdensjacket

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I live in a pretty affluent region, and within a mile of the largest, best high school in the area.. Yet I still have exactly 1 option for high speed internet.

Even though I have access, I still consider that to be a problem. When (not if) they decide to shove it up my rear.. and when (not if) they have service outages.. nothing you can do about it. Sure that's a better situation than the rural areas with jack shit, but it still sucks.


I live in a city with near 2 million people and I have exactly one option for internet. Comcast. Over the years they have continued to get worse and worse while their prices have continued to go up and up.
 

[Spectre]

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no shit!? and they live in the middle of nowhere for a reason...

To be fair, there is some truth to this. I'm not middle of nowhere but definitely more rural than most people.....specifically to be away from people and live in a protected forest. That means i only have broadband because i fought with my ISP to get it. I did end up the only person on my node though so that is a win.
 
D

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You're repeating the same arguments from nearly a century ago against expanding electricity to rural areas. You want to know how it eventually happened? The Federal Government did it, on their own dime.

A century later, the way to solve the problem is exactly the same.

You mean on everyones dime. The government also didn't do it, they used grants and loan guarantees to subsidize companies that built electric and phone lines. The reason the suppliers didn't build out to these people is the cost of install to so few people, and those people were not willing to pay the cost and revenue to the cost of install would almost never happen, so other tax payers paid for it.

Other factors is that the REA changed economic settling of people in the US, as living in the country meant subsidized power. Power lines in rural areas cost more and run at higher voltages, people also don't know that 90% of power lines only cover about 10% of the population, as it's almost all rural. Funny enough lots of research was going into wind and solar power after WWI for rural power up until Roosevelt announced that it was the right of every American to have power, at which point all that research stopped.....And now today people claim that we would not have solar and wind power if it wasn't for government subsidizing it.....Oh the irony.
 

RealBeast

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Me and my poor redneck neighbors out here in rural East Texas need some government $$$, we can only get gigabit Internet but it comes with an 800GB a month cap. We deserve more. ;)
 

ThatsAgood1jay

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24% of rural Americans complained of not having access to broadband internet and consider it to be a major issue in their area. Another 34% think that not having access to high-speed internet in their area is only a minor problem; which means that 58% of rural Americans seek some form of broadband internet in their area. These citizens also tend to buy less smartphones, but the survey doesn't say if broadband internet is available on the cellular networks in those rural areas.

Concerns about access to high-speed internet are shared by rural residents from various economic backgrounds. For example, 20% of rural adults whose household income is less than $30,000 a year say access to high speed internet is a major problem, but so do 23% of rural residents living in households earning $75,000 or more annually. These sentiments are also similar between rural adults who have a bachelor's or advanced degree and those with lower levels of educational attainment.


In 2016,
https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2016/cb16-210.html

60 million out of over 320 million.

So out of 60 million, 24% are saying they aren't getting broadband access, so that's what, just under 16 million?, and these 16 million are scattered acrossed the 97% of the countryside that isn't rural. So what is the best solution to provide some form of broadband access to 16+ million people who live scattered to the four winds accrossed the length and breadth of such a large land mass?

https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/best-satellite-internet-providers/

I do not see a problem here that needs fixing.

Yes it's more expensive, but living in the country comes with many advantages and many disadvantages and that's just how it is.

I'm sorry if you don't have a clear view of the southern sky.


Ahem: https://www.fcc.gov/general/universal-service-fund
 
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