Last summer, our team wrote about the Digital Divide and how the Internet can empower and propel emerging markets. While we’ve seen some progress on connectivity solutions in the past year, there is still a way to go—and it’s not just emerging markets that would benefit from more affordable, reliable internet access. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 34 million people in the U.S. lack access to broadband internet—23 million of those people are rural Americans. And while an increasing number of schools have high-speed connections, approximately 41 percent of schools (47 percent of American students), lack the connectivity to meet the FCC’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff.
As with emerging markets, rural Americans would benefit from reliable, affordable broadband access. State and local officials see broadband access as essential for economic development, access to educational opportunities and access to “telemedicine” so that rural patients can use the Internet to consult with medical specialists in urban areas.
The main obstacle to broadband access in rural America is cost—that’s where the Delta Smart Grid Network™ (DSGN™) comes in. As a pioneering 2.4 GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi-based wireless wide area network (WWAN) that reduces the need for telecommunications infrastructure build-out, the DSGN™ delivers broadband Internet to the populations served by its utility customers, while also creating opportunities for IoT engagement and monetization by its telecommunications partners and OEMs. This leveraging of the electrical grid and the providing of a sufficient return on investment to electrical utilities and associated partners entices the private sector to get involved, thus overcoming cost obstacles and enabling consumers of electricity to have broadband Internet access.