Report: Slow Internet Cripples Rural Economies

Wyoming ranks 49th in the nation for online access speeds.
Wyoming ranks 49th in the nation for online access speeds.

WYOMING NEWS SERVICE, Cheyenne, WY - Few things can be as irritating in the world of advanced technology as slow Internet. In rural communities with reduced access to more high-tech services, irritation can be the least of one's worries.

A new report by experts on broadband access in rural America says communities without it will be economically crippled, because they'll lose out on opportunities available to those with high-speed connections. And 65% of communities in Wyoming have access rated below the FCC “minimum standard,” according to data from SpeedMatters.org.

Dr. Sharon Strover of the University of Texas put together the new report about what that means for rural areas. She explains that the simple act of ordering a part can put a business with narrow Internet bandwidth behind the eight ball.

The report, by the Center for Rural Strategies, says having fast online access may not mean a sharp increase in jobs in a region, but not having it will probably mean fewer jobs. However, Dr. Strover says there are some encouraging signs.

The FCC is expected to report this year, as it did last year, that broadband providers are not expanding their services in a timely and satisfactory fashion.

Wyoming is ranked 49th in the nation for online access speeds.

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