AEI, AAF: Rural broadband is complicated
August 23, 2018
Two center-right think tanks have published documents that say deciding how to increase broadband availability in rural America and how much money to spend on it is complicated.
Brett Swanson of the American Enterprise Institute has written in a blog post that there is a "dilemma" about how much to spend to bring high-speed Internet service to "the last few percentages of the population."
In his argument, Swanson uses data produced by Will Rinehart, the director of technology and innovation policy at the American Action Forum.
Rinehart writes, "The Federal Communication Commission's definition of broadband has significant implications for the number of people who have access to broadband."
"Slightly decreasing the official speed threshold for broadband increases the number of people with it by about 1.5 million."
"But farm and rural readers have said that one of their most important goals is to provide farmers and their families and other rural residents with the same speed of service that people in cities and suburbs enjoy." They also say speed is vital to business development."
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Rinehart notes that "adoption" of internet service is more important than availability in judging the success of efforts to bring the Internet to rural America.