Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Then and Now: How Rural Internet Access Has Changed Since 2007

The life span of technology keeps getting shorter and shorter as developers keep getting smarter. In the past five years, some technologies have expired and others have improved. One area with massive improvements is the availability of high-speed Internet in rural areas.

In 2007, 70% of the U.S. population was using the Internet. In 2010, 77% of the population was online. As of 2012, North America has seen a 17% increase in Internet users in the past five years.*

Why the increase? Take satellite Internet fromHughesNet for example. Hughes developed and launched EchoStar XVII, a high-capacity satellite that has changed the game for families living in remote areas. This satellite provides the broadband speeds that rural areas were lacking last decade. Over the past few years, satellite Internet has not only gotten faster, and is now available in more places.

Not only is satellite Internet available in rural areas of every state in the continental U.S., but it is now fast enough to handle interactive applications and real-time media. Five years ago, download speeds could barely reach 1Mbps. Now, residents in rural areas can get Internet service with download speeds of 15Mbps.

Cable and DSL are still not widely available in rural areas. This seems unlikely to change, because the cost to build infrastructure in a rural area is not financially profitable for cable or DSL service providers.

Rural Internet access has changed dramatically over the past few years thanks to high-capacity satellites and innovative thinking from satellite Internet providers. If developments continue to improve, expect rural Internet access in 2016 to be even bigger, faster and stronger.

*Via Internet World Stats

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