Broadband important to rural residents, too

Wireless industry consulting firm the NetAmerica Alliance surveyed 800 rural residents and found, not too surprisingly, that they valued high-speed Internet nearly as much as their counterparts in urban and suburban areas.

According to an article on the report, three out of four rural dwellers said that home broadband is important for their quality of life. And two-thirds think it's essential, allowing them to live in a more remote area. Aside from personal preferences, 90 percent of rural residents think that access to advanced communications technology is economically vital for their communities.

According to NetAmerica, rural areas are already substantially plugged in. Among residents 30 to 49, 72 percent own a desktop or laptop computer, and even among older residents ownership rates are not drastically lower. Fifty-nine percent of those 65 and older have a desktop, and 44 percent have laptops. Half the respondents said that a mobile Internet connection is important.

The report found that 60 percent of residents were familiar with 4G, with numbers much higher among the young, and that 60 percent would opt for $G if and when it became available.

Speed Matters believes, though, that 4G cannot in itself fill the high-speed connection gap. Despite the importance rural residents attach to broadband, too many of them are still beyond the reach of fiber, cable or even DSL. We urge that the federal and state governments enhance policies that encourage wired build-out of real broadband.

NetAmerica Alliance Completes Landmark Research on Rural Market (NetAmerica Alliance, Mar. 14, 2012)

Report: 75% of Rural Dwellers Say Broadband Important to Quality of Life (, Mar. 11, 2012)