Photo: Kai Hendry (Flickr)
A report from Indian University finds that while many Hoosiers do use and have access to broadband internet, some rural areas are still without service.
Since 1999, the Federal Communications Commission has been monitoring broadband availability and usage in America, and has encouraged its expansion. According to Indiana Business Research Center Analyst Rachel Justis, Indiana internet providers have made a good deal of progress in the last decade bringing high speed internet to residents.
“Availability,” she said, “is mostly, fairly good coverage. There are some rural pockets that still don’t have access, but the availability is still pretty widely available.”
There are currently 12 counties in Indiana where household broadband usage exceeds 60%. These counties include much of the Indianapolis metro area, and counties with major universities such as Monroe and Tippecanoe Counties.
In the southwestern tip of the state though, usage and availability decline. In Gibson County, less than 20% of residents have broadband internet in their household.
According to Insight Broadband Director of Public Affairs Jason Keller, whose company provides broadband service to that area, it is often not cost effective to run high speed internet cables to rural areas.
“The fact is,” he said, “it takes a tremendous amount of investment to lay the lines and build the infrastructure in area.”
Keller did say Insight sends crews out each week to survey new areas for broadband service. According to Justis, for every 1% increase in broadband usage, an area’s unemployment rate shrinks 0.2%-0.3%.