Broadband: Why it’s Important in Rural Areas
The Adirondack region is perfect for someone looking for a lifestyle filled with year-round recreational opportunities. The area is also home to many start-ups, tech companies, and not for profits. Many of these businesses are located in less densely populated areas. Affordable access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet is crucial to keeping the North Country’s economy thriving. Bringing broadband to our more rural sectors is a cornerstone of our mission.
According to the FCC, 97% of Americans in urban areas have access to high-speed fixed service. In rural areas, that number falls to 65%.
Communications made possible by broadband technology eliminates the logistical constraints of regionally-based business models, allowing businesses in isolated areas to compete with their big-city counterparts.
Broadband brings the opportunity for direct access to education and health care for rural residents who are otherwise forced to travel long distances for academic courses and medical treatment.
Telehealth is on a steady rise since even before the COVID-19 pandemic and is crucial to getting care to those who cannot travel long distances. Not having access to high-speed internet puts these community members at risk of going into monetary debt, getting sicker as a result of delayed care, or in some cases, not receiving care at all.
For educational purposes, the internet is a limitless resource providing access to information from all over the world in a matter of a few keystrokes. Many students today need to work full or part-time to help pay for their tuition and online learning allows them the flexibility they need. Broadband access levels the playing for students, teachers, patients, and healthcare providers in rural communities.
In terms of tourism and marketing for a community, high-speed internet is crucial to showcasing all that your city or town has to offer, and in real-time. Social media is a key component to any marketing plan and you can’t utilize these tools without broadband internet.
Connectivity for workers at home differs dramatically from the access they get at the office. To be able to work from home, employees need high-speed, secure internet that can handle group video conferencing, large file transfers, and online collaboration tools. Broadband is vital to a community with an ever-growing remote workforce like that of Warren County.