Ending the Disparity
Steve Goodman has been practicing telecommunications law since 1983, when he began working at the Federal Communications Commission. He now represents a wide variety of clients, including telecommunications equipment manufacturers, satellite service providers and international carriers.
"The Reason for the Broadband Gap is not Rocket Science - but Maybe solving it is"
There is a broadband gap in this country. According to the latest FCC broadband deployment report, as of year-end 2016: "Approximately ninety-two percent of the population has access to both fixed terrestrial services at twenty-five megabits per second/three megabits per second, and mobile LTE at speeds of five megabits per second/one megabit per second. In rural areas, 68.6% of Americans have access to both services, as opposed to 97.9% of Americans in urban areas."
The reason for the disparity in broadband deployment in rural areas is straightforward. With today's technologies, the costs of deployment for fixed broadband services are driven significantly by population density, and rural areas are much less densely populated.
The FCC is striving to eliminate this gap using its Connect America Fund subsidy program. But with an annual budget of some four billion dollars, and much of the low-hanging fruit having already been addressed, it will take many years to bring robust broadband to all of rural America.