According to the White House, 98% of Americans now have access to high speed wireless Internet. But is it reality? Would you consider “having access to the Internet” if your access is at the local coffee shop or McDonald’s? Public free wifi leaves much to be desired, as one quickly finds out when you attempt to use it regularly.
What the White House Says
In March this year, the White House website published a blog by one of its interns entitled “98 Percent of Americans Are Connected to High-Speed Wireless Internet.” This post was a follow-up to an announcement made by President Obama the day before at the White House Science Fair. While, yes Mr. President, this is higher than at any point in history, the accuracy of this statistic makes me wonder.
A Goal Achieved?
Previously, the President had challenged the private and public sector with a goal of providing high speed wireless Internet access to 98% of the population and according to the White House, this goal has been met 2 years earlier than anticipated. While that sounds great, what the president defines as “high-speed” is explained to be 4G mobile broadband. Yet, cell phone based Internet service has inherent limitations on what it can deliver.
The focus of this goal was on connecting schools throughout the nation to high speed Internet, so that students in every part of the country would have similar access to the information they need to excel. The ConnectEd initiative that he launched in June 2013 was the driving force behind getting Internet access to students, and the necessary training and technology to their teachers.
This is an admirable goal and if 98% of schools in the nation have high speed Internet access, that is to be applauded. Yet today’s Internet sites are sluggish at best when 4G speeds are what is being used to view them. In order to truly deliver high speed to rural areas, speeds greater than 4G must be offered.
Bringing It To Homes
“Broadband that Works” is the name of the effort the president kickstarted to increase the access and affordability of high speed broadband Internet. However, to date, the proof is not there that broadband speeds are available to everyone throughout the nation and certainly not at speeds that are acceptable.
The next initiative is called the Broadband Opportunity Council and it is geared at ensuring access to those in rural and underserved areas of the country. It is meant to connect leaders in these areas and to empower them with the tools to move forward with Internet access for today.
In the meantime, high speed Internet is being brought to rural Americans by HughesNet satellite Internet and wireless Internet service from BroadbandBlue.
Read more about it here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/03/23/connecting-america-high-speed-broadband-internet