Bridging the digital divide
Though not every area in America has access to a high-speed wired internet connection, most every part of the country (with very few exceptions) is serviced by satellite internet providers. Viasat and HughesNet each provide satellite internet across the country, even in remote areas.
Satellite internet does have its limitations. It can be disrupted by weather conditions, and it has more latency than wired internet because signals must be beamed to satellites in orbit. It’s also more expensive than wired providers for how much speed you get. But for many Americans, it’s the best internet option available.
A new player in satellite internet, Starlink, could change the game by offering faster speeds and more affordable prices to every corner of the Earth. In fact, Elon Musk has made specific claims that Starlink will fill an important niche in providing better and more affordable internet service to those who live in rural areas.
Particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, initiatives to increase wired internet access to rural parts of America have also received renewed attention. And in a world where faster internet is correlated with success (higher household income, graduation rates, ACT scores, and more), we can only hope the digital divide will finally get the attention it deserves.