broadband

Kansas officials will soon have an up-to-date map of broadband service availability across the state as a way to help close the coverage gap.

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Amarillo will host a town hall today to explore ways to improve broadband access in rural areas today.

Representative Four Price and Senator Charles Perry will be in attendance, in hopes of better understanding the issue of rural broadband and how to better connect rural areas to the internet. 

According to a press release, attendees will be encouraged to voice their concerns “about the obstacles, and potential solutions” for providing better internet to all Texans.

Josh Harbour / special to Kansas News Service

Ashley Leal parks in front of the Plains, Kansas, Community Library. It’s about to close, but she doesn’t care. She pulls out her blue laptop.

“I’m ... using the Wi-Fi,” Leal says with a laugh.

Her home internet was so slow, she came to the library parking lot. Cars often idle there in the evening while their drivers tap into a plodding, but treasured, link to the internet.

“I’m just thankful that we have somewhere to go,” Leal says.

It’s the only free internet in this small western Kansas town. For many people, it’s the only internet, period. Surprisingly, part of the problem and the solution, for rural areas may lie in Netflix traffic.

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Unserved rural areas in Colorado will soon have access to high-speed internet, thanks to the passage of a law Monday that will commit $100 million over five years for rural high-speed internet infrastructure.

As The Denver Business Journal reports, the law signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper Monday, redirects money used to subsidize rural local phone service and uses it for grants to companies proposing to build broadband infrastructure in unincorporated areas and small towns.

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Approximately one-quarter of rural Colorado households have no access to broadband internet, making it difficult to compete for residents or businesses, but a proposal to help bridge that gap is gaining traction in the legislature.

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Gov. John Hickenlooper gave his final state of the state address Thursday and as The Denver Post reports, Hickenlooper spoke at length about the challenges facing rural Colorado.

Hickenlooper pointed out that rural communities face a number of issues, including teacher shortages, jobs and access to rural broadband.

Shoring up rural America’s economy must start with broadband access and technology, a federal task force says in a report released Monday.

The group, chaired by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and made up of other Cabinet members, says doing so will bring rural areas increased health care access, better job training, smart electrical grids and more precision farming technology. Little of that can be accomplished, the report says, without closing the broadband gap between urban and rural residents.

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Long distances, rugged topography and scattered population centers are among several barriers to providing broadband Internet service to Colorado’s rural areas.

As The Denver Post reports, the state’s broadband map shows vast stretches of the state – especially on the Eastern Plains and across the mountains – with slow to no internet service.

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19 million Americans still don’t have access to broadband internet, including much of the High Plains region.

In this modern age, hundreds of small towns across America are essentially cut off from progress. Over the past few years, major American telecommunications companies have shown little interest in expanding broadband into rural America, saying such expansion isn’t cost effective.

People that live in rural areas are more connected to the internet than they’ve ever been, but they still lag well-behind their urban and suburban counterparts in access to high-speed Internet, according to data from the Pew Research Center.

Roughly two-thirds of rural Americans have a broadband internet connection at home, Pew suggests. That’s a much higher rate than just ten years ago, when only one-third of rural Americans had broadband at home. Rural residents, however, are still 10 percentage points less likely to have broadband access at home than people in cities and suburbs.

Brian Lowry / The Wichita Eagle

Rural schools in the Sunflower State received some good news this week. Over the next two years, every Kansas public school could be equipped with high-speed internet, reports The Wichita Eagle.

This week Governor Sam Brownback announced that about 300 schools in Kansas, most of them in rural areas, will be equipped with fiber-optic connections to provide high-speed Internet access to students.

Rural Blog

When rural areas adopt broadband networks, it leads to higher levels of voting and civic engagement.

That’s according to a new a new study by Oklahoma State University. The study found that, as rates of rural broadband adoption increase, so do other civic factors. These include rates of voting in local elections, contacting local public officials, joining a neighborhood group and discussing politics with friends or family.

nebraska.tv

Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer gathered a prestigious roundtable of telecommunication and agriculture leaders at the Nebraska State Fair this week, Nebraska.tv reports. The commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission even paid a visit.

Jeremy Lange / New York Times

A federal court’s decision concerning a broadband internet case could have wide-ranging implications for rural Americans.

This month, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit upheld restrictive laws in North Carolina and Tennessee. These laws will halt the growth of municipal broadband networks in those states.