A new administration. A new Congress. A new emphasis on infrastructure.
With an explosion of policy ideas and actions set in motion, and largely perpetuated via social media, it’s our responsibility to harness this momentum to build the broadband future by participating in the Build Broadband With Us campaign.
This campaign looks to engage small, community-based broadband providers, their employees and communities, policymakers, and industry leaders on the importance of building affordable and sustainable broadband in rural communities—the infrastructure of the 21st century.
In some cases, involvement will be as simple as tweeting supportive messages or engaging in other forms of social media. In others, it will be about coordinating hands-on action in conjunction with company site visits or other forms of participation in local community events. In every case the underlying objective will remain: broadband is a key component of our nation’s critical infrastructure.
Rural Broadband: No One Does it Better Because No One is More Committed
Every day NTCA members work hard to deliver for the country’s rural communities. Their steadfast commitment to serving the communities they call home makes them rural America’s trusted solution providers.
- NTCA advocates on behalf of more than 800 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America.
- NTCA members serve rural customers in 45 states, covering 37% of the nation’s landmass.
- Population density in most member service areas is generally in the 1-5 customers per square mile range.
Rural Broadband: Moving America Forward
NTCA members have worked for decades to invest in our nation’s future by deploying state-of-the-art, advanced communications infrastructure in the most rural, hard-to-reach areas of the country. These dedicated telecom providers ensure rural Americans have access to affordable, reliable and robust broadband services to connect their homes, businesses and communities to the rest of America and the world.
- One hundred percent of respondents to a 2015 survey of NTCA members offer broadband to their customer bases, compared with 58% of respondents in 2000.*
- More than three-quarters (85%) of respondents’ customers have access to broadband service at speeds in excess of 10 Mbps.*
- Approximately 72% of NTCA members offer video services to their customers, with another 5% committed to doing so by the end of 2018.*
- NTCA recognizes 100 rural, community-based telecommunications companies as Certified Gig-Capable Providers in more than 600 communities across 29 states.
- Since 2013, 43 rural broadband providers have been recognized as Smart Rural Communities for their collaboration with local leaders on broadband-enabled solutions.
Rural Broadband: Benefiting Rural and Urban America
Small, community-based rural telecom companies believe that universal access to affordable, reliable and robust broadband services is critical to sustaining and enhancing American leadership in innovation, technology and economic development. Investments in rural broadband benefit all consumers, including those living and working in urban America.
- Rural broadband companies contributed $24.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015 through investments and operations, with 66% of that economic activity benefitting urban rather than rural communities. **
- The rural broadband industry supported nearly 70,000 jobs in 2015.**
- Over $100 billion in e-commerce was supported by rural broadband, with the largest share drawn from the manufacturing sector.**
Rural Broadband: Overcoming Challenges to Connect Rural America
While advancements have been made in technology and innovation, many challenges still exist for the small, community-based rural telecom providers. NTCA members are finding solutions to build upon what has worked to date, while incorporating innovative ways to overcome the continuous challenges of operating in rural areas.
- The cost to deploy fiber networks was cited by 91% of survey respondents as the No. 1 barrier to its widespread availability.*
- Small, community-based broadband providers continue to seek ways to offer advanced communications services at affordable rates, but are met with challenges such as limited budgets, high operating expenses in serving sparsely populated areas over great distances, and the need to obtain access to capital and repay loans.
* Based on results from the “NTCA 2015 Broadband/Internet Availability Survey Report”
** Based on the report, “The Economic Impact of Rural Broadband,” released by the Hudson Institute and commissioned by the Foundation for Rural Service