What Does the Ag Census Tell Us About Rural Connectivity?

Here are takeaways from the latest data provided by the 2017 Census of Agriculture regarding internet connectivity ( MGN )

If you ask someone who lives in rural America what type of internet connection they have, they are likely to give the off-the-cuff answer: “slow.”

As the government launches initiatives and the industry’s technology advances to bring improved connectivity to every back 40, the 2017 Ag Census provides insights in how progress is (or isn’t) being made. 

Here are takeaways from the latest data provided by the 2017 Census of Agriculture regarding internet connectivity:

1.    For the first time, farmers can answer what kind of internet access they have with “don’t know.” Other options included dialup, DSL, cable modem, fiber-optic, mobile internet service for a cell phone or other device (tablet), satellite, or other.


2.    Connectivity varies by size of farm operation. But overall, less than 3% of farm operations with more than 140 acres have dial up access. 
 

 

3.    The 2012 Census included a category of “Broadband” which was not included in 2017 (it was replaced with “Don’t Know”.) The percent of internet access answers with either Dial Up or DSL connectivity totaled about half the connectivity in 2017 than 2012.
 

 

  4.    USDA and the FCC aren’t using the exact same terminology to define internet connectivity. 
The FCC reports broadband availability with services including: ADSL, cable modem, FTTP, fixed wireless, satellite and other). So there’s some uneven overlap in how the agencies are classifying connections and measuring usage. 

In June 2017, the FCC reported that 0.10% of the population doesn’t have access to broadband. 
Since 2015 the FCC has defined broadband speeds as at least 200 kbps, at least 10 Mbps downstream / 1 Mbps upstream, at least 25/3, at least 100/10 or at least 250/25.

In June 2017, the FCC reported that 0.10% of the population doesn’t have access to broadband. 
You can look up broadband providers by your address here.
 

 

 

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