Rural digital deserts prevent affordable Internet access for millions

6 Dec 2018

In an article published on 3 December 2018 on nocable.org, the author gives an explanation of the impact of the revelation by the recent US Federal Communication Commission’s report that there are 34 million Americans without access to high-speed Internet services. According to the article, ‘digital deserts’ refer to areas with few or no broadband service providers, that offer download speeds similar to dial-up and early DSL. The impact is that about 10% of the population of the USA is without reliable Internet access and where they are available, it is not good enough to access contents online.

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The impact of the Internet on businesses and the global economy has been crucial in shaping new economic models, and at the same time, raising new concerns.

The Internet is one of the primary drivers of economic growth, which is visible in many countries that have placed the development of ICT as one of the primary tools for boosting the economy.

The need for people to gain access to ICT resources and narrow the digital divide is crucial, and is especially relevant now in the light of the Sustainable Development Goals. It is also important to understand how access to the Internet affects the level of economic and social development in a country.

The telecommunications infrastructure is a physical medium through which all Internet traffic flows.

Internet access is growing rapidly, yet large groups of people remain unconnected to the Internet. As of 2015, about 43% of people had access to the Internet (in developing countries only 34%). Access to ICTs is part of the Sustainable Development Agenda, which commits to ‘significantly increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least developed countries by 2020’ (Goal 9.c).

 

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