The UK’s plan to bring broadband Internet service to every home by 2012 is a very bold plan since based on recent reports only about 68% of the UK population are currently Internet users. In the meantime about 72% of the population of the US are Internet users. However these are not exactly apples to apples comparisons since these statistics do not tell what percentages of homes have broadband, rather these statistics shed light on the number of users. In the US cable television is a major provider of Internet access, and there are still dial-up users who are primarily outside of the heavily populated regions in rural America.
What about Rural America?
The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) and USDA (US Department of Agriculture) are working on a joint initiative to bring high speed Internet access to the rural US over broadband over power lines (BPL), satellite, wireless, and other means. However for the most part this effort not speeding along. Specifically this Blog is being written on a computer in the rural Texas (Milam County, Texas) which has dial-up only, not WIFI, or any other broadband Internet option available. This is reality for rural America where citizens still have white and yellow pages, which is something my home in Dallas has not had for many years.
Internet in More Homes
As we look to the future of the Internet more high speed Internet access is a necessity given the proliferation of eCommerce, and expansion of Web 2.0 into Web 3.0. Of course there’s also the age divide which is changing the use of eCommerce, now that FaceBook has more than 150 Million users, the demographics have changed so that a larger and larger percentage of users are 35 or older. It seems pretty clear that as our younger generations rely on the social networking and texting, everyone has to get with it, even in rural America. Not a surprise that on January 21, 2009 (day after the Inauguration) President Obama launched his YouTube site, but equally as interesting was the following week that the Pope launched his YouTube site. Clearly both the President and Pope know that the primary way to communicate is through the Internet. The UK is on the right path, and hopefully the US will not be far behind in having high speed Internet in every home by 2012.
What priorities should America have to bring high speed Internet access to rural citizens? To every home?