I was surfing this morning a tripped over this article from The Center for Rural Affairs. The headline states “More than half of all rural Americans lack fast, reliable broadband internet connections.”
Here’s the link:
It talks about how more and more farmers are getting on line and then bemoans the fact they can’t get high speed internet. While I certainly agree that more and more farms are connecting, I could not disagree more with the the connectivity issue.
To state my case, I will speak from experience. I live in rural South Dakota. The population density in my county is under five persons per square mile. Considering about 40% of that population lives in the county seat, it makes things pretty quiet out here. My township population density is about two persons per square mile.
I not only have broadband connectivity, I have five choices for providers (six, if you want to include my smart phone as a mobile hot-spot). This is for a guy who lives 16 miles from the closest town (population 108).
My current provider (Northern Wireless Communications) uses an ingenious system of towers, roof top antennas and up-links to provide me 15Mbps + service. My land-line phone company (Venture Communications Cooperative) also has high speed internet through a recently installed fiber optic network. I have three additional satellite choices Hughesnet, Dish and DirecTV). There might be more. I am only aware of these because of their advertising.
So, to say rural America does not have access to high speed internet is not taking into account all the options. Many of the studies I have seen on this subject only consider hard wired (or fiber) connections. They do not include satellite communications.
Be careful with these blanket assumptions. My friend Ben Winchester of the University of of Minnesota Extension, coined a term, “Anecdata”. Here’s the definition as best as I can remember it, “Information which is presented as if it is the result of serious research, but which is actually based purely on what someone believes is true.”
There are a good many of these anecdotal untruths around us today and rural America having no access to broadband is simply another one.
Rick Skorupski is a writer and author living in Northeast South Dakota.