However, the company must accept or decline the subsidies on a statewide basis, even though the subsidies may vary region to region, Wigfield wrote in an email. If the company declines the rural subsidies, other companies could bid to provide the service by using the subsidies offered, Wigfield wrote.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration began a state broadband initiative to improve information about broadband access. The NTIA and FCC now collect data down to the neighborhood about who has access to broadband and which companies provide it and curate the data on a website called the National Broadband Map.
In Carroll County, 88 percent of the county has access to DSL, through a provider like Verizon, and 91.5 percent of the population has access to cable Internet, such as Comcast, according to the National Broadband Map. The county actually outpaces the nation on cable access, where 87.6 percent of the U.S. has access to cable, but is left behind when it comes to fiber. Fiber offers the fastest download speeds for Internet usage. Nationwide, fiber optic broadband is available to 20.5 percent of the population. Only 0.5 percent of the population in Carroll has access to fiber, according to the map.
Freedom Wireless Broadband would need 240 network sites in order to cover the entire county, Hall said. Freedom Wireless Broadband does not have access to very specific maps of where Comcast and Verizon are, Hall said, so the company mostly finds out about areas that are lacking through potential customers.
“The customers call us,” Hall said.
There are a few options a rural residence has for high-speed Internet: a wireless air card which plugs into a computer, satellite Internet or Freedom Wireless Broadband. For rural residents who live closer to a municipality, working with a retail Internet provider like Quantum Internet Services is also a possibility.<< previous 1 2 3 4 next >>