“Networks that connect research institutions in the United States can move 100,000 times more data per unit of time than the dial-up connections that some Americans still must use,” policy expert Hanns Kuttner told a gathering at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. “The technology gap is not a fixed deficit that once filled, stays filled. The technology gap will be larger—much larger—in the future, along with the information and technology gap, unless significant action is taken to overcome it.”
Ardery reports that 9.8 million rural Americans lack access to broadband speeds sufficient to handle common Internet functions such as videostreaming, which has become a mainstay in education, business and health care. "The Federal Communications Commission now defines 'basic broadband' as at least 4 megabits per second download speed and 1 megabit per second upload speed," the capacities needed for video and social networking. ("The National Broadband Map, below, which uses the more conservative thresholds of 3 Mpbs for download speed and 768 kbps for uploads, estimates 16 percent of rural Americans now lack access to basic broadband. In contrast, only 0.3% of urbanites lack broadband access," Ardery writes.)
To read the entire "Broadband for Rural America" report, go here. To view the National Broadband map interactively, and to enter your own address to find out what broadband speeds are available in your area, go here.