Right now, the US is facing a challenge in regard to nationwide broadband adoption. On one hand, the country is moving full speed ahead on the long road towards becoming a “smart country,” as cities and private organizations are working together to proliferate the Internet of Things (IoT). On the other hand, a large percentage of the American population still lacks high speed broadband connectivity.
Here’s what’s causing the problem:
The vision is that in the coming years, the US—like many other countries—will become increasingly connected as multiple systems like traffic control, utilities and transportation will all become IP-enabled and eventually interoperable. Though we’re still in the very early stages of this process, the transition is quickly gathering momentum.
This burgeoning connectivity revolution is great news for broadband providers, which stand to make a killing off of the unfathomable amounts of data the IoT is predicted to generate. After all, broadband providers will be the engines powering the IoT. The IoT movement will also be welcomed by the 84 million Americans who currently have high speed Internet access, and can utilize the multitude of IoT solutions that will be coming to market.
Unfortunately, there’s still 51 million Americans who still don’t have access to download speeds of at least 25 Mbps for reasons related to geographical location, income or other contributing factors. The fact is that as our society becomes completely engulfed by connected technologies, Internet access is changing from a luxury item to a basic necessity. This is the message promoted in a recent White House report, which highlights the major connectivity gap which still exists in America.
In an effort to address this connectivity gap, the White House will be taking direct action over the next 18 months to try and increase broadband adoption in underserved markets. As outlined in the report, the Obama administration will work to modernize federal communication subsidy programs, update local communities with tools and resources for broadband investment and streamline broadband data collection to monitor the nationwide deployment process.
For broadband providers, this initiative should come as great news as it presents a tremendous opportunity. Broadband providers get to take part in one of the largest infrastructure upgrades since the installation of the publicly-switched telephone network around the turn of the 20th century. Now is the time for broadband providers to upgrade their networks, and help lay the groundwork for bringing broadband to new markets currently bereft of Internet access.
It goes without saying, too that helping the 51 million Americans to receive broadband Internet access will have a waterfall effect in terms of economic growth. Local economies will improve as more online jobs are created, and more people will be using data too, which will lead back to more profits for broadband providers.
With this in mind, 2016 looks to be a groundbreaking year for broadband adoption in America, and one that we should all be looking forward to.