Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Network World.
Eighty-nine percent of respondents to a recent survey think lack of broadband access in the United States hurts an individual’s educational, productivity and employment potential.
The survey, commissioned by telecom equipment vendor Tellabs, also found that the FCC’s definition of broadband any transmission at or above 200Kbps—aggravates the broadband “gap” in the United States.
“At that rate, it takes longer to download a movie than to watch it,” Tellabs states in a press release on its survey.
The survey reflects responses from 451 readers of American telecom publications. Sixty-five million Americans depend on broadband services for work, education, entertainment and communications but many others have no access to broadband, Tellabs asserts.
The United States ranks 15th globally in broadband penetration measured against population, Tellabs says, citing data from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development.
The company’s survey also found that 81 percent think America should use some of the current Universal Service Fund (USF) to expand rural broadband. USF is designed to fund telecommunications services in rural areas of the country.
It also found that 79 percent of respondents think where you live should not dictate broadband availability, and 77 percent believe economic status should not determine broadband availability.
Respondents support expanding broadband availability in the United States, especially in under-served rural areas, Tellabs says. The lack of broadband availability, whether caused by geographic or economic reasons, hurts productivity, the company claims.
However, areas without broadband access might want to be careful what they wish for—94 percent of respondents to the Tellabs survey said the current 200Kbps FCC definition of broadband does not deliver a true broadband experience. Eighty-four percent of respondents feel that a better definition of broadband is a service that can deliver high-quality streaming video, according to Tellabs.
Finally, the survey found that respondents believe broadband plays a critical role in U.S. productivity, innovation and economic growth. Eighty-four percent think that the United States trailing so many other nations in broadband penetration is a serious problem; and 93 percent believe broadband is essential for continued Web 2.0 innovation.