Undoubtedly, the internet has made the world a lot simpler and opened boundless frontiers, especially for the economy. Although America is credited with inventing this technology, not all Americans have access to broadband.
A report issued by the Federal Communications Commission estimates that around 100 million Americans do not have access to the internet. Of this at least 25 percent are located in rural areas that do not have high-speed broadband coverage. The commission asserts that these underserved regions are cut off from internet-based jobs and other economic opportunities.
The FCC also noted that around 30 percent of the population with internet accessibility — roughly 100 million Americans — do not subscribe to broadband connections due to high cost, privacy concerns and poor digital literacy.
Lack of internet access is significantly pronounced among minorities, seniors, Hispanics, African Americans and indigents. Quite alarming is the poor internet connectivity of many schools and libraries. This alone limits the access of many Americans to high-speed internet access.
Proper coordination and partnership of FCC and the private sector is crucial in increasing the nationwide accessibility of the internet, according to the report.
On a global scale, America ranked 20th in terms of broadband accessibility. The woeful performance of America is comparably lower than the rest of the world. In fact, only 60% of the US population has access to a high speed internet connection. South Korea tops the world ranking with 95% broadband household penetration. Included in the top ten are the Netherlands and Norway.
The report emphasized that nationwide internet connection can help invigorate the economy by providing online jobs to millions of Americans. In 4G wireless technology alone, 200,000 jobs await potential workers.
The rapidly growing “apps economy” remains an untouched source of employment and economic possibilities. Today, there are thousands of companies, developers and private investors treading the way of this bountiful economic opportunity. FCC is optimistic that extending broadband access can uplift the economy from its recession state.
Similarly, private investors and companies are shelling out billions in expanding broadband coverage, improving next-generation internet services and increasing internet connection speed.
On the part of the government, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 mandates the FCC to hasten measures of accelerating broadband accessibility across the country. The agency is currently spearheading aggressive actions to increase internet connectivity and make America globally competitive.