The quiz and polling site Statista estimates that about 274.9 million Americans (or about 84% of the country) uses the Internet. This number is likely to rise as more and more communities have access to high-speed Internet in the country. There are many ways that having access to high-speed Internet in rural areas can help local communities. Everything from the local economy to a community’s physical health can benefit from Internet service.
1. Creates a bigger market for local businesses
When a local community’s businesses thrive, that community’s residents also benefit. From more government funds for better community services, to more job opportunities, residents can see the fruits of local business successes. Businesses with access to high-speed Internet service can create a bigger market for their goods and services, driving the success of the community.
In fact, According to US Telecom, a broadband industry association, around 66% of all rural jobs are created by small businesses using high-speed Internet to expand operations. Beside more jobs, local businesses with access to high-speed Internet in rural areas can also attract more visitors and outside money into a community by expanding markets.
2. Helps small businesses run more efficiently
When local businesses run more efficiently everyone in the community benefits. The tax dollars and jobs created by local businesses can help improve life for everyone in a town. Internet service and connected software allows businesses to run more efficiently with programs that help with processing payments, filing taxes, and employee scheduling. With these tools, more businesses can flourish, creating greater economic opportunities for the communities in which they are based.
3. Enhances education and provides more opportunities
Internet access has also become crucial for schools because it expands on the educational resources available to schools. Schools can also help parents better connect with students by encouraging parents to take interest in what their children are studying. Parents and children can also stay on top of grades and future project due dates with the information that school websites and tools allow them to access. Many schools outside of the reach of cable now use high-speed satellite Internet to power technology and to connect students and administrators.
With the rise in Internet-connected technology, educational opportunities have grown as well, from the possibility of online homeschooling to continuing education for adults, there is a wealth of educational opportunities created by the presence of the Internet – particularly high-speed Internet service.
4. Connects communities to better healthcare
Rural healthcare has always been an issue with patients living farther from healthcare facilities that must cover more patients than their urban counterparts. The National Rural Health Association reports that there is an imbalance in the ratio of primary care physician to patients in rural areas (with just 39.8 physicians to every 100,000 patients) compared to urban areas (with 53.3 for every 100,000 patients). However, Telehealth is a growing business that is especially helpful for those in rural communities because of the enhanced access to patients that it provides. These communities can get the help they need even without physically travelling to the doctor’s office.
The Internet also provides many other advantages for the health of rural residents, including better and more updated nutritional and other health information and online systems that can help with scheduling appointments, viewing medical records and making payments.
5. Helps you and your family members get a job
Rising Internet speeds have also led to the rise in telework and has allowed more employees to work from home or become self-employed. Telework has grown by 115% since 2005, according to Fundera. It provides benefits to both employees and employers. Telework provides more job opportunities to rural areas, and also saves employees money on commuting costs. With high-speed satellite Internet, employees can even work in areas beyond the reach of cable.
There are also jobs that have been created by the Internet and industries rising around it. IT, for example, has grown into a huge business – as has cyber security. However, for young people, there are even more opportunities within their own rural areas. Those who are technologically literate can help local businesses build out their social media profiles and websites as a way of entering the workforce.
6. Better informs residents of what they need to know
Now, even the most remote residents can be informed of weather patterns and any natural disaster or other safety alerts. With high-speed Internet service, residents can quickly get the information they need to stay safe. Local government and law enforcement can also send out information quickly over the Internet, so that all residents remain safe and informed.
7. Fosters connections within and outside of the community
With high-speed Internet access, small town communities are able to remain independent without feeling isolated from the rest of the world. Residents can stay connected with family and friends, and even create new networks around the globe.
High-speed satellite Internet allows even the most remote communities to see the benefits that being connected can provide. From economic opportunities to better health and education, residents can see the benefits of high-speed Internet service every day.