Idea Center

Bringing Broadband to Rural America

Some 40 percent of U.S. households currently are without broadband access. That rate rises to 60 percent among low-income and rural sectors of the population. For...
by | August 6, 2009

Some 40 percent of U.S. households currently are without broadband access. That rate rises to 60 percent among low-income and rural sectors of the population. For the nation that pioneered the Internet, extending broadband to rural America has proved a daunting challenge. Fortunately, efforts to map unserved and underserved communities are under way in several states. Many are working with the company Connected Nation to map their state's connectivity, while states like Alabama have launched their own intiatives. ConnectingALABAMA is a two-year initiative to identify unserved and underserved communities across the state, implement strategies to improve coverage and access, and increase the use of broadband technologies to enhance business and social services. The state has teamed up with over 100 internet service providers (ISPs) to map unserved and underserved areas. The data collected from the colloboration will be aggregated into maps to help the state target and implement strategies to improve access and coverage, and will serve as a tool for ISPs looking to expand. Once completed, the maps will be uploaded to the initiative's Web site, where visitors can identify which service providers, if any, provide broadband access in their community. The Web site -- designed to be conducive for those with slower, dial-up service -- also lets users test the speed of their Internet connection and share stores about how high-speed service helps their families and business.

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