Nearly three-quarters of rural Americans receive slower Internet broadband speeds than that recommended by the FCC, and 90 percent can't transmit at the recommended rate either.
This is according to the Calix U.S. Rural Broadband Q1 2012 Report, a quarterly report issued by broadband provider Calix, now in its second release.
"The most common peak downstream broadband rate consumed by endpoints in rural America was between 1.5 Mbps to 3 Mbps in Q1 2012," the report noted. "During the quarter, 60% of rural broadband subscribers received a maximum downstream broadband speed of 3 Mbps or less – approximately one-eighth of the U.S. peak downstream average published by Akamai in its most recent published ”State of the Internet” report. In fact, 71% of rural subscribers received a downstream broadband speed that was slower than the target for the Connect America Fund (CAF) of 4 Mbps, and approximately 90% fell below the CAF upstream target of 1 Mbps. Upstream rates remained slow as well, with 95% receiving 1.5 Mbps or less," the report continued.
This is all happening, of course, while some states and corporations are actually attempting to restrict regions from setting up their own Internet services when they are not available from other providers.
This not only cuts rural Americans off from economic development opportunities, but as education increasingly is dependent on the Internet, cuts children off from state of the art education as well. In addition, as websites are increasingly growing with images, analytics, ads, and buttons -- with the average size of a single screen being 1 MB -- it becomes harder for rural users even to surf.
Ironically, one of the biggest uses rural Americans have for broadband Internet is video streaming, though this requires a minimum of 1 Mbps and realistically often requires more for satisfactory performance. According to the Calix report, 64% of downstream and 15% of upstream traffic is video streaming. Not surprisingly, this was more common in those rural broadband networks that were composed of fiber rather than copper; in copper networks, nearly 93% of endpoints generated less than 100 GB of downstream traffic a month, the report noted.