Thursday, January 08, 2015

Farms severely lacking in access to broadband; 7% percent of farmers in 2012 still used dial-up

While disparity exists of broadband access between urban and rural America, the gap widens considerably when it comes to access to technology on the farm, Brian Whitacre, Tyler Mark and Terry Griffin report for Choices Magazine, a free quarterly online journal published by the Agricultural and Applied Economic Association.

Data suggests that 100 percent of urban residents have access to at least one broadband provider, compared to 78 percent of rural residents, Whitacre, Mark and Griffin write.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that 70 percent of farms in 2012 had access to the Internet, compared to 57 percent in 2007, Whitacre, Mark and Griffin write. But the level of service varies. "A significant number of those connections were via technologies that may not be adequate when it comes to accessing and delivering the large quantities of data that are associated with some precision agriculture processes." About 7 percent of farmers use dial-up, 13 percent satellite and 13 percent mobile broadband, typically via cellular networks. (National Broadband Map: Wired broadband availability for corn and wheat production in 2012)

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