There is exists a gaping digital divide between Rural America and the rest of the country, in which 146 million people (45 percent of the population) do not have access to a low-price plan for residential broadband. That is according to research released last week by BroadbandNow, which also found a slightly positive correlation between income and low-priced broadband.
On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Recode’s Peter Kafka spoke with Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford about her new book, Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution--And Why America Might Miss It. On the podcast, Crawford explained why nationwide access to high-speed fiber internet -- already standard in parts of Asia and Europe -- is important for everything from the future of work to the successful deployment of 5G wireless networks. She also talked about why Google’s ambitious attempt to compete with the telecom giants, Google Fiber, is all but dead.
Action toward improving the availability and speed of broadband in rural areas is emerging as an early theme in 2019, continuing activity from 2018. Oregon, Washington and the USDA all announced new initiatives last month. In mid-December, the USDA announced the availability of $600 million in grants and loans to support improvement of broadband accessibility across rural America.
In the wake of Tuesday’s power-shifting midterm elections, the White House plans to stay the course in tech policy and may even work with Democrats on beefing up the nation’s broadband infrastructure, a trio of Trump administration officials said today. “We’re on the biggest IT transformation of all time,” said Chris Liddell, a former Microsoft executive who currently serves as White House deputy chief of staff for policy coordination.
The American economy has gone digital and broadband is the connective tissue enabling that transformation. Two decades into the 21st century, it’s impossible to categorize broadband as anything but essential infrastructure. However, broadband doesn’t yet look like the country’s other essential systems.
Investments in rural broadband deployment can create significant returns on investments for state economies. A recent study from Purdue University's Center for Regional Development contends that Indiana could generate a $12 billion economic impact over 20 years with strategic broadband investments in rural areas across the state.
Verizon, for example, has announced a new service for its 5G customers rolling out in four cities: Los Angeles, Sacramento, Houston, and Indianapolis. Sign up for the company’s service, and you’ll get a free Apple TV ($179) and a subscription to YouTube TV, at $40 per month. Instead of a wired connection, you’ll receive internet service via 5G wireless streaming.
China has in recent years outspent the U.S. by $24 billion in the area of next-generation mobile internet technology known as 5G, potentially creating a "tsunami" that will be difficult to catch up with, according to a Deloitte study published Tuesday.
AT&T announced that it’ll go live with 5G connectivity in three more U.S. cities than initially planned. The new locations include Charlotte, Raleigh, and Oklahoma City.
China and Korea are more prepared to deploy 5G than the U.S. is, according to a report conducted by Analysys Mason and Recon Analytics and commissioned by trade association CTIA. Report authors developed a “5G Readiness Index” based on how nations are allocating 5G spectrum and shaping policies related to infrastructure deployment.