Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dothan Eagle in southeastern Alabama has a good example of how to localize net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to release finalized net neutrality rules today, and the Dothan Eagle in the southeastern corner of Alabama (Wikipedia map: Dothan, Ala.) has a good example of how to localize a national story that could have a major impact on many rural areas, especially those lacking high-speed Internet or any Internet access at all.

Nationally, 55 million Americans—or 17 percent of the population—lack access to high-speed Internet, Carly Omenhiser reports for the Dothan Eagle. But numbers are much higher in rural Alabama, where 56 percent of the state's rural residents lack "access that meets today’s speed requirements."

"With the FCC recently updating its benchmark to 25 megabits per seconds (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads, the rural parts of the state and country will continue to play catch up with the FCC’s set benchmarks," Omenhiser writes. "Using the 25 Mbps/3 Mbps benchmark, which is up from 4 Mbps/1 Mbps, the FCC found that Americans residing in the states with the lowest population density are 10 times more likely to lack access than the states with the highest density populations."

"According to, the most common speed for this area is 10 Mbps. However, Internet service is provided by about seven different companies in the Wiregrass, providing differing speeds from 3-25 Mbps or greater," Omenhiser writes. "The most underserved area within Houston County is the rural eastern portion of the county with speeds between 200-768 Kbps and 3 Mbps." (Read more)

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