In an over-the-top video world, high-speed Internet connection is a must-have. New data from BroadbandNow contends that much of the country — rural America — does not have fast-enough Internet to handle streaming video.
The high-speed Internet aggregator believes 42 million Americans (16 million households) do not have access to a broadband-level connections — nearly double the FCC’s estimates.
Indeed, the survey-based report, from more than 700 households during May, contends 40% of Americans would sign up for a faster Internet option if the option became available. About 20% of respondents are somewhat dissatisfied with the speed of their existing service, including 25% in rural areas. The national average for broadband Internet is $79 per month.
BroadbandNow suggests upstart ISP companies such as Elon Musk’s nascent SpaceX could help fill the void through its Starlink initiative, which aims to deliver high-speed broadband connections nationwide through a “mesh network” of satellites. Musk, creator of battery-powered Tesla cars, has said that the company needs 400 operational satellites to start service in the U.S.
“If SpaceX’s Starlink service managed to enter the market in the $60 monthly range, it could pose a substantial threat to a status quo that has existed for decades in some areas,” Tyler Cooper, editor at BroadbandNow, wrote in the report. “Offering the service for $80 to $90 would likely still be attractive for many, but if it was significantly more expensive than current options, the company (and others working on new types of connectivity) may face an uphill battle with adoption, regardless of how robust the service is.”