Rural Communities Need Access to Sufficient Internet
There is certainly a digital divide between urban and rural communities when it comes to accessing efficient broadband internet. The statistics don’t lie! 39% of rural Americans lack access to internet speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload compared to only 4% of urban Americans.
Just take it from some of our friends in Phelan, CA who recently ran speed tests with their current internet providers. Some aren’t even able to reach speeds of at least 4 Mbps. They can’t wait for Race to complete our Gigafy Phelan Project and gain access to lightening internet speeds up to 1000 Mbps.
Why is this important?
The internet isn’t just about streaming, playing games and entertainment anymore. Internet connectivity has become vital to education, jobs and even local safety services. Whether it’s a middle school student who has to do research for a project or a local business owner who needs to hire more people, the use of the internet has become a necessity just like water and electricity. According to NPR, “In some rural areas, parents have to drive their kids to the parking lot of the local library so their kids can file homework.”
Why are rural areas “lagging” behind?
Bottom line…building the infrastructure for internet connectivity is expensive, especially in areas where the terrain is unpredictable and homes are spread apart. This is the reason why Race Communications has teamed up with the California Public Utilities Commission to receive grants from the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) to build fiber to premise networks in these areas. Mono County for example is an area that has a population of only 4.5 people per square mile. Race is currently working on bringing fiber internet to areas in Mono County deemed underserved and unserved by the CASF. Other areas in which Race has been approved to build networks are Phelan in San Bernardino County and Occidental in Sonoma County.