When underserved communities gain access to high speed Internet, all Americans benefit. Whether they reside in remote rural communities, low-income urban neighborhoods, or anywhere in between, it is in the nation’s interest to make sure that these disconnected communities are not left in the slow lane.
High speed Internet access has become vital to the success of individuals and communities. Our nation’s commitment to equal economic opportunity, educational advancement, and democratic participation can only thrive if everyone has equivalent access to these critical communications networks. As important as it is to our country to ensure access to what we think of as more traditional resources or services for all citizens, closing the digital divide in America strengthens the entire country economically and socially.
High speed Internet breaks down the barriers of distance and time, allowing residents of rural areas to participate in economic and civic life far beyond their geographic region. Communications made possible by broadband technology eliminates the logistical constraints of regionally-based business models, allowing businesses in isolated areas to compete with their big-city counterparts. Ultimately, the numerous economic and social advantages enabled by the availability of high speed Internet in rural areas benefits the entire country.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has found that rural residents are much less likely to subscribe to broadband than their urban counterparts. A study by Connected Nation finds that 19 percent of rural residents say they do not subscribe to broadband because it is not available in their area.