Rural  Households Left Out of Internet Growth

Reading reports of internet growth over the past year, I learned that U.S. households consumed an average of 268.7 gigabytes (GB) of data in 2018. This is up from 201.6 GB for 2017, according to OpenVault, a leading provider of industry analytics and technology solutions for ISPs.

Some other findings by OpenVault:

In 2018 the percentage of households exceeding 1 terabyte of usage was 4.82%,

The rate of households using 1terabyte all more almost doubled in 2018, rising to 4.12% of all households up from 2.11% in 2017.

In 2018 the percentage of households exceeding 250 GB rose to 36.4% up from 28.4% in 2017.

Impressive growth across the board, indicating that consumption is growing across service providers’ entire subscriber bases, not just among the heavy users,  good news for everyone with one exception. Rural households that do not have access to high-speed internet did not experience any of this growth.

According to reports by the California Public Utilities Commission, less than half of roughly 680,900 households in rural California have broadband access. And, many of those that are connected have services which do not meet the minimum standards of 6 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up, or the FCC standard of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up.

It is highly unlikely that rural households will get any high-speed internet access in the near term. The brightest light on the horizon is service by the LEO satellites that will be coming online in 2020, maybe late in 2019 at the earliest.  

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