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How Giving Rural America Better Internet Could Boost Online Business For Everyone

Say Contributor

While it seems like everyone and their grandparents is on the internet these days, there are still many rural areas in America that don’t have broadband access. But, as ever, Presidential candidate and Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that. Broad City Warren’s plan would grant $85 billion in federal money to subsidize the building of broadband networks in underserved rural areas. The law would also protect local governments’ rights to build their own broadband networks rather than rely on private services, and would prioritize non-profit organizations, while also insisting the companies subsidize their services for low-income households. Access Tonight According to the FCC, around 39 percent of Americans in rural areas don’t have access to high-speed internet, compared to 1.5 percent of Americans in urban areas. Getting an area wired is expensive, and major internet service providers like AT&T and Comcast, don’t have a financial incentive to invest infrastructure in sparsely populated areas. But studies have shown that internet access is a boon to rural areas. As Senator Bernie Sanders noted in his similar proposal to bring broadband to rural communities, strong access across the country is necessary for a community’s job growth, as well as for improving education and health care services. The Big Country Greater broadband access will benefit online businesses, as consumers who’ve been hearing about, say, Netflix, will possibly be able to try it out. It will also help remembers of the community to start more online businesses—as the online-craft store ETSY has noted, 28% of their sellers reside in rural areas. On The Line Vice President Joe Biden has also pledged $20 billion towards the effort, and Senators Sanders and Amy Klobuchar have also pledged to guarantee broadband access for all Americans, but neither have introduced a plan as extensive as Warren’s. -Michael Tedder Photo by Elizabeth Frantz/REUTERS