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Nearly 40% of Rural Americans Lack Access to High-Speed Internet

Most Americans take access to fast internet connections for granted, and in fact, only 4% of urban residents lack that access, says the Wall Street Journal, citing FCC data. In rural America, however, nearly four of every 10 people cannot get broadband, a disadvantage when commerce and public services are often routed digitally.

“In many rural communities, where available broadband speed and capacity barely surpass old-fashioned dial-up connections, residents sacrifice not only their online pastimes but also chances at a better living,” says the Journal. Experts say it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to supply up-to-date broadband throughout the country, “an expense neither government, industry, nor consumers has been willing to pay.”

Some lawmakers are urging the Trump administration to include broadband in its infrastructure program. The White House has said that private investment will carry most of the costs. Rural broadband was part of the 2009 stimulus package. Half of the $7 billion earmarked for rural broadband went to a program that was expected to reach 840,000 businesses and households. The Journal says there is no tally at present of how many connections were made and at what speeds.

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