We live in what urban dwellers here call “the country”. It’s not exactly that far off the beaten path at about 40 minutes from Louisville. In other areas, this would be considered a suburb based on the distance, but we’re surrounded by working farms, including cattle operations. This is a farming area.
We were unpleasantly surprised to discover that the only internet options at our farm were satellite or, sadly, fax speed DSL. Neither were comparable in price or speed to broadband. And streaming videos? Forget about it – you’d hit the data cap in no time.
Based on the options, we chose to use our phones as hotspots. This allows for surfing, but not streaming videos (the data cap issue). That wouldn’t be so bad, except that we’re taking courses that include videos, and that means we have to go to the local library to download them. The fact that there’s broadband just down the road from us just makes it that much more irritating.
So what’s the point? It’s that as long as rural areas fail to bring in the infrastructure for high-speed internet, they will always be playing catch-up. Students can’t attend online classes without a fast connection; companies need it for basic business operations; remote employment opportunities aren’t viable; and areas without high-speed internet aren’t attractive to employers.
We’ve lived without cable for nearly a year and a half now, and that’s been fine. Living without high-speed broadband internet has more impact. KY ranks #47 out of the 50 states for broadband coverage, according to the Commonwealth Office of Broadband Outreach and Development. Come on…it’s down the street – make it available to everyone!