Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet

Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet


“I want to tell you my secret now…” “I see…” Do you want to know what Haley Joel Osment says in The Sixth Sense? What about this noise? For many Americans, slow internet or no internet is still a reality, and the internet speed in Nashville, Tennessee, might not be as fast in Nashville, Kansas. Besides missing “Stranger Things, having a slow connection can mean increased health risks, a limited education, or having less money, all of which, creates a divided country, because the fact is: all American internet is not equal. In 2015, The FCC defined “broadband” as internet with download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second and uploads of at least 3. That basically means, a constant connection capable of streaming videos, sending messages, and transferring data. On multiple devices. Overall, 10 percent of Americans don’t have broadband. But rural areas suffer most. 39 percent of rural Americans, about 23 million people, don’t have high-speed internet. This map shows where broadband is available and areas it has yet to reach. In places where broadband adoption is higher, so is the number of people who’ve earned a college degree. Fewer people are unemployed, and the rates of poverty are also lower. Without fast internet, rural Americans have a difficult time accessing government services, like Medicare. And as education moves online, students struggle to complete assignments at home. In a few rural districts, superintendents have loaded school buses with wi-fi and parked them overnight in neighborhoods where kids need it to do their homework. These communities would benefit from broadband, so why don’t they have it? In cities, most broadband is “wireline”, which typically means it is delivered through fiber optic cables that have been laid in the ground. Laying cables is expensive, but there’s an incentive for providers: high population density means hundreds of people pay to access the same network. In rural areas, that’s not the case. So large telecoms, like AT&T and Comcast, don’t prioritize extending cable lines if they only reach a few people. But there is an alternative, and that’s “wireless” broadband: which is either beamed from a satellite, or relayed from the nearest fixed wireless point by antennas. In places like Appalachia or The Rocky Mountains, a wireless system can be an effective way to provide internet. But its quality is not as reliable as wireline. Outside of traditional providers, a few tech companies are trying to create new wireless options that could be used in rural areas around the world. This video is from Project Loon: Alphabet’s internet-beaming balloon system designed to connect people in remote areas using wireless technology. Like Loon, Facebook also has its own wireless project: a solar-powered drone called Aquila, which Mark Zuckerberg hopes will help reach, “half the world’s population — 4 billion people — –[who] still can’t access the internet.” And then, there’s Microsoft, which is focusing on rural broadband, here in America. Their plan is to send wireless internet using unlicensed television frequencies, called “white spaces”. While these companies pursue futuristic projects that focus on wireless, a proven example for providing wireline connections, in The US, lies in the opposite direction: The Past. In 1935, President Roosevelt created The Rural Electrification Administration, or “REA”, to deliver electricity to rural America. Before then, most Americans receiving electricity got it from private companies. But The REA changed that. It loaned federal funding to electric cooperatives that built power lines private companies wouldn’t. Within a few decades, most of America was electrified and now some of those same co-ops are providing internet. But unlike electrification, which relied almost entirely on co-ops, there are many models for deploying broadband. For example, the city of Cedar Falls, Iowa built its own municipal network and later used a portion of a federal grant to extend the network to nearby rural communities. “We are seizing the potential of the internet and other technologies.” For the past two decades, presidents have been allocating federal dollars for high-speed internet. “We must bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans.” But rural broadband has been an evolving challenge. “When you look at the speeds we’re going to need for all the apps and the videos, and all the data, new software that is constantly coming onto market. We’ve got to keep pace. We’ve got to be up to speed.” President Obama increased funding and enabled municipal networks like the one in Cedar Falls, which are prohibited in other states. Now, President Trump is calling for even more investment, while also scaling back Obama’s policies. Standing near a tractor in June, President Trump announced his new infrastructure plan. “That is why I will be including a provision in our infrastructure proposal — $1 trillion dollar proposal, you’ll be seeing it very shortly to promote and foster enhanced broadband access for rural America, also!” The speech drew a big applause in Iowa, but but Trump’s commitment may have been misleading. Not only because the proposal has not arrived yet, but, less than two months after his speech, The FCC outlined priorities for the new administration, Including a suggestion to set a lower mobile broadband benchmark of 10 Megabits per second. That’s roughly equivalent to 4G mobile phone coverage, which most of America already receives from major providers. So if the broadband benchmark becomes 10, nearly all of America would be covered and the government could claim they’ve fulfilled their promise to increase rural broadband. But in reality, all they’ve done is redefined what it means to offer high speed internet. It would be a standard sufficient for social media and other apps, but falls short of the high speed service that can help schools, businesses, and rural healthcare facilities. On an international scale, it would signal that The FCC is fine with connectivity slower than mobile speeds in Kenya or Greece, both of which rank higher than The United States. Dropping the benchmark lowers the broadband goal, but using electrification as a funding model could help reach it where it is. Expansion is expensive. But history and research show that providing equal internet for all Americans is worth it.

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    ItzYoBoi DatOneGuy

    I really don't see why I would need more than 4g internet it serves me greatly my phone runs video with almost always 0 buffering

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    Kaiser Wilhelm II

    All those countries have faster speeds than the U.S. because the U.S is ginormous and its hard to cover this much land

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    SuperiorNinja 3

    I use my neighbors WiFi and right now I'm about 3/4ths a football field away, and somehow still have enough signal to complete this video in decent quality without interruptions.

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    michaelovitch

    USA rural areas complaining about 3 times what we have here in France in average size cities…
    Rural areas don't even have internet via cable here.

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    goluckyour mother

    why didn"t you talk about the price inequalitys in rural areas(rural area pay more for less).

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    Wingless

    Elon musk's starlink is the most effective way in my opinion, because 60 of those satellites costs less than one cube sat, which can sometimes cost more than the rocket launch itself.

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    rajeshwar prasad

    well, having a high-speed internet connection doesn't cause more college degrees or employment. It could be that people with college degrees and more employment knows better about the benefits of the internet and can actually afford to have a high-speed internet connection in the first place.
    hence, we should remember, correlation does not mean causation.

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    Ponyitous

    soon as i got the animated circle it actually gave me the actual load circle lol. i wish i had dial up or something lol, must be faster than my hotspot xd

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    thrakiamaria

    not only Americans, in Europe also we have a lot problems with internet and cell phone broadband speed like 4G, 5G and LTE, especially in Germany.

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    Kaylee F

    I'm so grateful to have blazing fast internet where I live. I grew up out in the sticks with painfully slow internet, so I know the pain of not having a decent internet connection. You need the internet for damn near everything today.

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    Michael McClay

    Because it's not profitable to install the hardware needed to supply Internet…. Saved you 7min.

    All the data about higher BS degrees and whatnot seems like the classic correlation == causation.

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    blacc egg

    Oh yeah, + Internet providers they scam you.
    There are 2 channels that run your WiFi, the internet provider sometimes block one of them to slow your internet down
    Buy something like WIFIblast to add it to 2 permanently
    B7t it won’t help much sometimes

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    Joan Morales

    When I was watching the video, at 0:04, my inter net connection lagged.

    JK
    Edit: OMG I never had this much likes before.

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    Clay

    TV and automobiles already ruined the country. I don't want high speed internet, unless it's in a new system of rural libraries. Anything over 10mbps and the kids will stop playing outside and turn into gamer spuds

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    Sam

    At 5:50 he said that there was a suggestion to lower the mobile broadband benchmark, then compared that to current mobile data service. Does he not realize this?

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    that_marc_guy

    ffs, if you live in the middle of nowhere… you're not going to have the best resources. Sad but true.

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    jgenert

    How do you explain the up-tick in Unemployment and poverty in areas with the highest access to broadband internet. In those circumstances is access to internet unrelated to poverty and unemployment? Does that call into question the implication of your argument at 1:26? Are sweeping statements based on simple comparisons of raw data appropriate? Are those assumptions all we have to make decisions? Food for thought.

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    Shikher Mishra

    In india I have 2 Mbps speed broadband which cost me 1179₹ ( 16.8 $ ) per month

    Damn that broadband

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    Will N Josh

    I have one hundred mega bit at the end of my drive way. Charter won't run it to my house unless I pay them $14,500. So I'm stuck with satellite thatight get three mega bits.

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    P3G4SUS

    Every other president promised and didn't make it happen, but when trump does the same its the end of the world.
    I'm not defending anyone I'm just pointing out a fact.

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    zeitGGeist

    I live in a rural space and would love fiber, but these people once voted against grid power, so they probably don't want something that takes their private info.

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    JCJR

    I am not a Vox fan or a liberal but I absolutely agree with the FDR, cooperative approach that bypasses the big corporations. Rural Americans are screwed in this country. I have Att fixed wireless Which is 10 down 1 up, but luckily i get about 25 down and 3 up from this due to low tower traffic, I assume?

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    Globe Twig

    I live in a low rent area of a small city in the UK. We're not very prosperous but we do receive both 516mb/s fibre and 5G. Both are very affordable, even on a low income.

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    Denys Popovich

    speed of internet it is a shame of usa. and the biggest reason, as for me, lack of competition and lack of small local providers

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    Dillon Johnson

    I think you could make these videos better by letting us know how to make a difference with these crisis.

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    Thomas Fieschi-Rose

    5:24 ONE TRILLION????? He does realize that 1,000,000,000,000 is almost 1/19 of the US GDP, right?

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    Wilhelm__

    When your area is covered as bandwidth but your internet speed ranges from an average of 350kbps and on a good day 1mbps. And you cant get good internet because you live 2 miles from town 🙁

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    Jaja Pogi

    GLOHBph here in the Philippines are worser even tho you have full cignal its just loading for a minute. Millions of our people are scammed by this company everyday even their promos are scam and their service is the worst than other companies. Take a look on their post theres alot of people or almost all of the comments are talking about their worst service.

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    YMML Aviation

    Can't believe you're complaining about 'slow' internet, come visit Australia where I have 0.09 download. It takes me over 3 minutes to load a YouTube video in 144p.

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    1ukjunglednbraver

    trump is god, he is doing everything he can for the USA. he really cares about the usa. you all should be grateful that he is leading the country

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    Bob

    I moved from a small rural town where the fasted internet speed was less than 1 mbs to the city where my University is and the internet I have now that's more affordable than the internet back home is a whopping (to me) 60mbs! There were packages that were double that, but they were more for businesses and stuff and were really expensive. I kinda feel like I've been missing out tbh

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    David S

    Listen very carefully starting at 4:26 ………."We are SEIZING the potential of the internet and other technologies….." ask yourself why it is so important to Congress but it is not such a priority for so many other beneficial things. Hmmmmm, could it be they have a difficult time CONTROLLING THE MIND SLAVES IN THESE RURAL AREAS!?

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    Yours Truely

    Thats why so many people voted Trump they think private mailservers are for the rich who have broadband. And Trump uses twitter not YouTube he doesn't have broaddd benddd

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    pegatan

    I get 50 mbps download and 10 mbps upload,…….100 mbps available via telephone line and cable connection up to 1 gbps download and 50 mbps upload. I live in Germany, in the rural area and our village has about 2500 inhabitants. However, when viewed across Europe, Germany has one of the worst broadband coverage rates in rural areas. I am very lucky, some kilometers outside are 3-6 mbps rather standard.

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    theevilmeister

    Comparing Kenya, Japan, Greece, Germany etc. to the USA is completely unfair. We're talking about an enormous land area in North America with giant metropolitan hubs separated by thousands of miles. The most remote populated area in Germany is still much closer to a metropolitan area than the most remote part of the USA. Kenya, for instance, is still a large geographic area, but that country is basically just two large cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, focused on the Southern part of the country. It doesn't make sense to run hundreds of millions of miles of fiber to every mobile home and cabin in the USA., and judging the quality of our internet on that metric is incredibly disingenuous. The future is indeed wireless broadband (LTE and 5G), not underground fiber/coax. African countries like Rwanda have already figured this out; they're all going straight to mobile broadband.

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    Paul

    I average 100mbps DL
    I use on average 500gb per month. It's all mobile data. I use my phone as a hotspot for all my gadgets I pay £20 per month. Incs unlimited minutes and unlimited text. £20 is approx $25
    I also have free roaming in approx 80 countries

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