Friday, March 21, 2008

Rural Broadband

Wednesday’s blog on info from the National Lieutenant Governor’s Winter Meetings drew an interesting email from Roger Hahn, Executive Director of the Nebraska Information Network. He sent me statistics and info on the broadband penetration in his state, telling me, “In Nebraska 81% (instead of 31%) of rural residents have access to broadband. In Nebraska 99.98% (instead of 52%) of the urban residents have access available for broadband. And we have been at near these levels for three or four years….and most if not all of the rest of the States are catching up..look at the big push in Kentucky to catch-up.”

He provided me with data on availability by population center and competition within each of those centers, showing that any town over 300 in population had 100% coverage and 98.35% of those under 300 had the same broadband coverage. Fremont, Grand Island and North Platte (populations of from 23,000 to 43,000) each had 15 broadband suppliers, the same as Omaha and one more than Lincoln. Even tiny Raymond (population 186) had 9 suppliers.

Hahn also pointed out to me that while Japan and the EU might have faster bandwidth, their usage per unit of population is much lower than here in the USA.

I’m convinced that broadband is a necessity for economic development, as important as water, sewer and electricity. I’ve yet to have an industrial client show up on a site visit and ask me, “Do they have electricity here?” Broadband is already as important as the three other infrastructures and most rural communities that I know have the type of coverage that Roger Hahn emailed me.

Roger: Thanks for sending me the information on NE’s broadband coverage.

1 comment:

rosburne@cwa9415.org said...

Access to high speed Internet is another matter for many areas of the Country. The FCC just took a step forward to overhaul the way they collect and report data on high speed Internet access http://www.speedmatters.org/blog/fcc_oks_collection_methods.html . They also raised their definition of “high speed” from 200 Kbps to 768 Kbps. This should increase the accuracy of future reports.

The Communications Workers Of America have been promoting the cause of affordable high speed access for all Americans thru their project Speed Matters. We have published a state-by-state report on Internet connection speeds that shows the United States is far behind other industrialized nations. Check out our report and interactive map that can drill down to the zip code level http://www.speedmatters.org/pages/state.html . For more information go to www.spedmatters.org