Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet


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“I want to tell you my secret now…” “I see…” Do you want to know what Haley Joel Osment says in The Sixth Sense? What about this noise? For many Americans, slow internet or no internet is still a reality, and the internet speed in Nashville, Tennessee, might not be as fast in Nashville, Kansas. Besides missing “Stranger Things, having a slow connection can mean increased health risks, a limited education, or having less money, all of which, creates a divided country, because the fact is: all American internet is not equal. In 2015, The FCC defined “broadband” as internet with download speeds of at least 25 Megabits per second and uploads of at least 3. That basically means, a constant connection capable of streaming videos, sending messages, and transferring data. On multiple devices. Overall, 10 percent of Americans don’t have broadband. But rural areas suffer most. 39 percent of rural Americans, about 23 million people, don’t have high-speed internet. This map shows where broadband is available and areas it has yet to reach. In places where broadband adoption is higher, so is the number of people who’ve earned a college degree. Fewer people are unemployed, and the rates of poverty are also lower. Without fast internet, rural Americans have a difficult time accessing government services, like Medicare. And as education moves online, students struggle to complete assignments at home. In a few rural districts, superintendents have loaded school buses with wi-fi and parked them overnight in neighborhoods where kids need it to do their homework. These communities would benefit from broadband, so why don’t they have it? In cities, most broadband is “wireline”, which typically means it is delivered through fiber optic cables that have been laid in the ground. Laying cables is expensive, but there’s an incentive for providers: high population density means hundreds of people pay to access the same network. In rural areas, that’s not the case. So large telecoms, like AT&T and Comcast, don’t prioritize extending cable lines if they only reach a few people. But there is an alternative, and that’s “wireless” broadband: which is either beamed from a satellite, or relayed from the nearest fixed wireless point by antennas. In places like Appalachia or The Rocky Mountains, a wireless system can be an effective way to provide internet. But its quality is not as reliable as wireline. Outside of traditional providers, a few tech companies are trying to create new wireless options that could be used in rural areas around the world. This video is from Project Loon: Alphabet’s internet-beaming balloon system designed to connect people in remote areas using wireless technology. Like Loon, Facebook also has its own wireless project: a solar-powered drone called Aquila, which Mark Zuckerberg hopes will help reach, “half the world’s population — 4 billion people — –[who] still can’t access the internet.” And then, there’s Microsoft, which is focusing on rural broadband, here in America. Their plan is to send wireless internet using unlicensed television frequencies, called “white spaces”. While these companies pursue futuristic projects that focus on wireless, a proven example for providing wireline connections, in The US, lies in the opposite direction: The Past. In 1935, President Roosevelt created The Rural Electrification Administration, or “REA”, to deliver electricity to rural America. Before then, most Americans receiving electricity got it from private companies. But The REA changed that. It loaned federal funding to electric cooperatives that built power lines private companies wouldn’t. Within a few decades, most of America was electrified and now some of those same co-ops are providing internet. But unlike electrification, which relied almost entirely on co-ops, there are many models for deploying broadband. For example, the city of Cedar Falls, Iowa built its own municipal network and later used a portion of a federal grant to extend the network to nearby rural communities. “We are seizing the potential of the internet and other technologies.” For the past two decades, presidents have been allocating federal dollars for high-speed internet. “We must bring the promise of broadband technology to millions of Americans.” But rural broadband has been an evolving challenge. “When you look at the speeds we’re going to need for all the apps and the videos, and all the data, new software that is constantly coming onto market. We’ve got to keep pace. We’ve got to be up to speed.” President Obama increased funding and enabled municipal networks like the one in Cedar Falls, which are prohibited in other states. Now, President Trump is calling for even more investment, while also scaling back Obama’s policies. Standing near a tractor in June, President Trump announced his new infrastructure plan. “That is why I will be including a provision in our infrastructure proposal — $1 trillion dollar proposal, you’ll be seeing it very shortly to promote and foster enhanced broadband access for rural America, also!” The speech drew a big applause in Iowa, but but Trump’s commitment may have been misleading. Not only because the proposal has not arrived yet, but, less than two months after his speech, The FCC outlined priorities for the new administration, Including a suggestion to set a lower mobile broadband benchmark of 10 Megabits per second. That’s roughly equivalent to 4G mobile phone coverage, which most of America already receives from major providers. So if the broadband benchmark becomes 10, nearly all of America would be covered and the government could claim they’ve fulfilled their promise to increase rural broadband. But in reality, all they’ve done is redefined what it means to offer high speed internet. It would be a standard sufficient for social media and other apps, but falls short of the high speed service that can help schools, businesses, and rural healthcare facilities. On an international scale, it would signal that The FCC is fine with connectivity slower than mobile speeds in Kenya or Greece, both of which rank higher than The United States. Dropping the benchmark lowers the broadband goal, but using electrification as a funding model could help reach it where it is. Expansion is expensive. But history and research show that providing equal internet for all Americans is worth it.

100 Replies to “Why 23 million Americans don’t have fast internet”

  1. Technologic says:

    there's always services like hughsnet

  2. zeitGGeist says:

    honestly my internet does this constantly

  3. zeitGGeist says:

    I live in a rural space and would love fiber, but these people once voted against grid power, so they probably don't want something that takes their private info.

  4. Alexander Campos says:

    This is why you get cable internet not satellite

  5. T-Rex Hunter says:

    Space X is making Star link and that can fix the broad band gap problems.

  6. Kahuna _ says:

    Elom musk is fixing this so don’t worry

  7. Hotsoup says:

    I got 1 Gbit Down and Up for 35 Dollars, feeling sad for rural America.

  8. Ramon Kook says:

    4G here is 100Mbits…

  9. Richard McGuire says:

    Damn and I thought 150 down was slow.

  10. James Vannordstrand says:

    Des Moines, IA here. 200mbps 🙂

  11. JCJR says:

    I am not a Vox fan or a liberal but I absolutely agree with the FDR, cooperative approach that bypasses the big corporations. Rural Americans are screwed in this country. I have Att fixed wireless Which is 10 down 1 up, but luckily i get about 25 down and 3 up from this due to low tower traffic, I assume?

  12. Dacco says:

    Only if they had Elisa Saunalahti 5G

  13. Fissile says:

    i have 1mb up and 1mb down

  14. Call Me Perseverer1 says:

    They may not have fast internet but they may have faster or fastest internet. 🙂

  15. Jim Mauch says:

    I’m turning blue holding my breath for high-speed Trump.

  16. Globe Twig says:

    I live in a low rent area of a small city in the UK. We're not very prosperous but we do receive both 516mb/s fibre and 5G. Both are very affordable, even on a low income.

  17. Yenzy Hebron says:

    Philippines average household:
    25.3 USD per month for 0.5 mbps max, data cap of 70 GB

  18. zhuoli xie says:

    Well, China can't ensure household power connection until 2015. Well, just feel weird.

  19. zulfikangga says:

    i download this video for only 3 seconds…

  20. Denys Popovich says:

    speed of internet it is a shame of usa. and the biggest reason, as for me, lack of competition and lack of small local providers

  21. Trent williams says:

    whats hi speed internet…

  22. Dillon Johnson says:

    I think you could make these videos better by letting us know how to make a difference with these crisis.

  23. Joshua Ferrill says:

    How about wifi?

  24. Zach Rosenberger says:

    I went to watch this and got a playback error and had to reload it lol

  25. Joshua Graham says:

    Just wait for neighbouring cities to expand derrr

  26. Ricardo Antonio says:

    Lol government let's solve world hunger. Let's change the definition on of world hunger

  27. GamerDemoForever ! says:

    I got that circle When I watched this video 😭😭😭

  28. Thomas Fieschi-Rose says:

    5:24 ONE TRILLION????? He does realize that 1,000,000,000,000 is almost 1/19 of the US GDP, right?

  29. Wilhelm__ says:

    When your area is covered as bandwidth but your internet speed ranges from an average of 350kbps and on a good day 1mbps. And you cant get good internet because you live 2 miles from town 🙁

  30. manmeet singh says:

    In India our 4g is better than broadband.

  31. Like Hello says:

    This is the most first world problem video I have seen

  32. Jaja Pogi says:

    GLOHBph here in the Philippines are worser even tho you have full cignal its just loading for a minute. Millions of our people are scammed by this company everyday even their promos are scam and their service is the worst than other companies. Take a look on their post theres alot of people or almost all of the comments are talking about their worst service.

  33. Carlos SpiceyWeiner says:

    Haha I live in Wyoming. People here still have dial up

  34. Wise Pancakes says:

    What is a smart internet

  35. OpticalStrafe says:

    600Mbps for €20 a month😎

  36. Equius Zahhak says:

    I live in one of those rural areas with no good internet

  37. Ta Na says:

    I'm paying $40/month for 500Mbps in Japan. If I use wired, it will go up to 1Gbps. No data cap.

  38. Happy Face says:

    First world problems, am I right?

  39. Lille P says:

    This is why Germany still doesn't have fast internet anywhere but connection holes everywhere

  40. Lille P says:

    "Das Internet ist für uns alle Neuland."

  41. Patrick Mittel says:

    cackles insecurely in german

  42. Macy Ng says:

    that’s why i’m against trump.

  43. Guillermo Perona Guerrero says:

    i really don't give a s*** about this

  44. YMML Aviation says:

    Can't believe you're complaining about 'slow' internet, come visit Australia where I have 0.09 download. It takes me over 3 minutes to load a YouTube video in 144p.

  45. 1ukjunglednbraver says:

    trump is god, he is doing everything he can for the USA. he really cares about the usa. you all should be grateful that he is leading the country

  46. Bob says:

    I moved from a small rural town where the fasted internet speed was less than 1 mbs to the city where my University is and the internet I have now that's more affordable than the internet back home is a whopping (to me) 60mbs! There were packages that were double that, but they were more for businesses and stuff and were really expensive. I kinda feel like I've been missing out tbh

  47. David S says:

    Listen very carefully starting at 4:26 ………."We are SEIZING the potential of the internet and other technologies….." ask yourself why it is so important to Congress but it is not such a priority for so many other beneficial things. Hmmmmm, could it be they have a difficult time CONTROLLING THE MIND SLAVES IN THESE RURAL AREAS!?

  48. Kevork Yacoubian says:

    Try living with 400 kb/s max

  49. Jeremy Hand says:

    I get about 400mbs down 25 up

  50. Eurovision BRAM says:

    The Eurovision fans are here

  51. Let’s Talk academy says:

    Who else lost connection watching this video and felt offended… I live in a place with the best broadband

  52. DanceManiaco says:

    300/30 Mbps 69 U$D (Uruguay) !!!

  53. Yours Truely says:

    Thats why so many people voted Trump they think private mailservers are for the rich who have broadband. And Trump uses twitter not YouTube he doesn't have broaddd benddd

  54. pegatan says:

    I get 50 mbps download and 10 mbps upload,…….100 mbps available via telephone line and cable connection up to 1 gbps download and 50 mbps upload. I live in Germany, in the rural area and our village has about 2500 inhabitants. However, when viewed across Europe, Germany has one of the worst broadband coverage rates in rural areas. I am very lucky, some kilometers outside are 3-6 mbps rather standard.

  55. theevilmeister says:

    Comparing Kenya, Japan, Greece, Germany etc. to the USA is completely unfair. We're talking about an enormous land area in North America with giant metropolitan hubs separated by thousands of miles. The most remote populated area in Germany is still much closer to a metropolitan area than the most remote part of the USA. Kenya, for instance, is still a large geographic area, but that country is basically just two large cities, Nairobi and Mombasa, focused on the Southern part of the country. It doesn't make sense to run hundreds of millions of miles of fiber to every mobile home and cabin in the USA., and judging the quality of our internet on that metric is incredibly disingenuous. The future is indeed wireless broadband (LTE and 5G), not underground fiber/coax. African countries like Rwanda have already figured this out; they're all going straight to mobile broadband.

  56. Paul says:

    I average 100mbps DL
    I use on average 500gb per month. It's all mobile data. I use my phone as a hotspot for all my gadgets I pay £20 per month. Incs unlimited minutes and unlimited text. £20 is approx $25
    I also have free roaming in approx 80 countries

  57. Aaron Chen says:

    America really needs HUAWEI at this point. The North of Canada is now relying onHuawei to get basic 4G internet.

  58. Gary P says:

    That explains trump vote

  59. Gary P says:

    If Obama cured cancer then trump would get rid of that as well

  60. Singapore Capitalist says:

    Our Internet service in Singapore would make Americans cry to know what they're putting up with. lol

  61. robert moore says:

    If the US can electrify BFE, there is no reason why Internet is denied to those places.

  62. Archer V. says:

    elonk musk will fix it

  63. Pearl Grover says:

    How does this channel only have 6.4 mil subs? 🤨

  64. Mike 8th says:

    Im watching this video with a 800mbps down and 800mbps up with 1.07 ping

  65. Joaquín Fritzler says:

    I live in Argentina. Help.

  66. Javonie Valencia says:

    Lol i live in Central California and i get 3 mb download and 125 kb upload lolol

  67. B Perez says:

    The fastest internet in America is socialized and publicly managed. See Chattanooga Tennessee!!!

  68. SneakyChef says:

    I like in kentucky and the wire closest to me isnt even a mile away so why dont we have it!

  69. Joey Sorrenti says:

    You guys complain allot

  70. The True Legendary Villain J says:

    It's about to be 2020 and i still can't afford REGULAR, STANDARD, AND FOR MOST THINGS NOW A DAYS, REQUIRED INTERNET!!!

  71. Aiden says:

    The entire continent of Africa has bad internet lol

  72. HyperIon says:

    Correlation does not mean causation. Your implications about education, unemployment, and poverty are not because of slow internet. The internet is slow there because the population is less dense, which typically means fewer employment opportunities and worse education.

  73. CarCat says:

    I'm in the middle of a huge broadband zone and I still get speeds half of what the FCC definition of "broadband" is.

  74. venkat thota says:

    In India it cost just $.26 for 1GB data, there is a 97% difference in the price of 1GB of data between India and the US. I hope Elon musk's Starlink will bring the prices down in US

  75. valentin quiroga says:

    I am the guy that only use mobile phone connection, and for more lols. I learned programming and english with online curses, all by using my mobile phone connection

  76. XI Crez says:

    And here I am watching this on 70+ mbps

  77. NigelDK says:

    Laughs in Scandinavian. Watched this video in 2 minutes.

  78. BearAxeBear says:

    Paid more for less, this is America.

  79. Connor Hoagland says:

    I heard of this one guy who wanted a comcast connection, was quoted over $20k, agreed to pay it, and Comcast wouldn't do it, despite giving him a quote.

  80. K R says:

    You guys are redicolous for insinuating that health and education levels are correlated to internet speed…

  81. M. Talk says:

    Just wait for SpaceX and their Starlink constellation. IN MUSK WE TRUST.

  82. Trap Of Colours says:

    My internet buffered a lot in this video

  83. Evan Harper says:

    i don’t think the unemployment rates and the issues mentioned necessary have a causation relationship with lack of internet access. there’s a very strong correlation, but lack of internet isn’t exactly taking away jobs from those areas because there’s different just available in those communities that are focused on agriculture, and trucking.

  84. Pravin Singh says:

    Laughs in india..

  85. Mohamad Amirul Zolkefle says:

    such a first world problem. 😅

  86. Joseph Atnip says:

    Where I live your options are satellite internet which is extremely expensive and you only get 50 gigs per month and that's not enough to do anything with not for $150 a month or you can go outside and use your cell phone kind of sort of sometimes on a clear day you might get three bars outside and the only carrier in the area is AT&t/Verizon tower so your data plans are limited and throttled…. And your last option is old-school DSL it's unlimited but your data speeds might be 4 megabytes per second on a good day so streaming anyting especially HD is completely out of the question ………… Obama gave hundreds of millions of dollars 2 cable and internet providers to develop high-speed internet infrastructure in rural communities and almost every one of those companies just took the money and put it in their pocket and walked away…… The truth is there's a few options but there is no unlimited home internet in my area unless you're willing to spend a lot of money you can buy an RV AT&t Dome dish satellite you're going to get 4G LTE speeds it is the only internet plan that AT&t provides that is truly unlimited but it is extremely expensive having to purchase all of the equipment outright and then pay for the service…… Most people in rural America are poor so internet and a cell phone is considered a luxury not a necessity

  87. Sam1370 says:

    “Facebook also has its own wireless project…which hopes will reach 4 billion people who can’t access the internet.”

    “the internet” Don’t you mean “Facebook”?

  88. Liam Walsh says:

    2:39 what is the name of the music?

  89. Timothy Weakly says:

    12mb for $60 month….

  90. Shameel Ibrahim says:

    Hong Kong has one of the fastest internet speeds.

  91. Geth Pathfinder says:

    According to that definition, I don’t have broadband. I think the definition of broadband keeps getting increased. I thought 3Mbps was considered broadband.

  92. Zeek M says:

    And those gaps are likely to continue because some of them are within government military site locations.

  93. cannedbav says:

    pings goes from 9 to 10

    Vox: This is NOT Okey-Dokey

  94. Color Code says:

    Ha mine goes for a SECOND and then it stops

    I'm joking

  95. CombatHD says:

    internet speeds make no sense
    I cant even run roblox at 25 fps with high graphics but my internet speed is 300Mbps Download and 250Mbps Upload

  96. DerpzTM says:

    my 4g is faster than my wifi

  97. Josh Andrei C. Corbita says:

    Here in the Philippines, we are ranked on of the greatest users of internet (wireless and wired) yet we also have the worst WiFi connection. Despite the WiFi load offers of some telecommunication companies like Sun Cellular, Globe Telecoms, and Smart, your connectivity still depends on your location and the reliability of the telecommunications companies to hand you 'unlimited' wifi. For Example, in universities like CIT-University and UP, students dont just use 'Free Wifi' for gaming and videos but also because most of the schoolworks and projects are all posted online. So slow wifi connections, despite the number of those people connected and currently using it, are one of the problems why students are slow to learning and or are tardy when submitting their requirements.

  98. Fingolfin3423 says:

    I was waiting for the hit on President Trump to appear. I mean after all, this is a Vox video. Sure enough, they got their hit in later in the video.

  99. KingChapulín37 & Mario Darpenne says:

    Rural areas don’t have Internet towers which makes it difficult to get the accessibility of your connection. In the Great Plains, it’s impossible to get a stable connection

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