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Recent News // Rural communities working for better broadband

Monday, March 14, 2016

By Ben Rowley

For rural businesses to evolve and be strong in today’s economy, it’s increasingly critical for them to have access to reliable and fast Internet.

Communities that offer top level broadband are positioned to attract companies and provide good jobs for residents. Those that do not will likely be overlooked and left behind. Various leaders and groups are aware of this and focused on improving broadband in rural communities.

It’s a continual chase, as the criteria for how fast Internet should be is ever-growing. A recent op-ed by Wisconsin State Sen. Julie Lassa points out that the “latest 4G data services start at a minimum of 100 MBPS (megabits per second), and the gold standard is ‘gigabit’ service of 1,000 MBPS.”

The senator added that Wisconsin averages about 24 MBPS and called for increased state investment in broadband infrastructure to the tune of $10 million annually. Right now the state’s budget invests $6 million over four years, she wrote.

Each state deals with different challenges in terms of broadband coverage. States with small populations spread over large areas especially present obstacles for broadband providers. Nevada is a prime example, where reaching isolated rural communities requires huge infrastructure investments that serve a relatively small amount of people.

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