60 Ways Broadband Will Improve Your Life in the EUP!
You may be asking yourself, "What's the difference between Internet and Broadband?" This is an excellent
question! Think of the Internet as how information (emails,webpage searches and hundreds of other actions)
is trasmitted between electronic devices. The Internet is a network, or system, that connects millions of
computers worldwide. Broadband is the pathway, or highway, on which the information is traveling.
There are many types of broadband connections-Digital subscriber lines (DSL) where the Internet
is provided over telephone lines, Cable, Fiber, etc. All of the technologies aim at offering high-speed
internet to their users.
Wait, I already have Internet; why is broadband better? The main difference between the rural Internet service currently available and the broadband that's coming is speed. If you have rural Internet you are sharing the network lines with your neighbors. Since it is a shared network, whenever there are lots of users, the network speed is slower. Essentially, you pay the same price to do less. Broadband Internet service is faster, many people can access the network at the same time without affecting the overall performance.
Now you might be asking, "How can this highway of computer connections improve my life?". If you had reliable, affordable highspeed Internet you could visit a medical professional without leaving your home (Telemedicine). You could start a home business or work for an employer remotely from home. These are just two ways Broadband can improve life in rural EUP Communities.
How We Use Broadband
In Our Homes
Communication is one of the original uses of Broadband Internet. Keeping in touch with others is still one of the top uses of the Internet. Below are a few ways people stay connected using the Internet for communication:
Did you know that e911 communications use the same network as you use to connect to the internet? Improved emergency communications is important to the safety and security of our communities.
Did you know the world writes about 300 billion emails a day? That is about 38 emails per day for every person on Earth.
Communication on social media is happening more today than ever before. People are staying in touch using Meta(Facebook), Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and many others.
Video Chat and Conferencing Software
Software apps like Zoom, Google Meet, Facebook Messenger, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are being used by more people like you along with education and businesses.
Today more trade schools, colleges, and universities are offering online
courses. The change from the traditional classroom to distance learning allows people in rural communities
to gain a certificate or degree without having to move to where the school is located. A person can build
their skills to improve their career without taking on the debt of moving to a new area.
In 2019, over 7.3 million American college students took online classes1. 37.2% of all postsecondary students took at least one course online, and 17.6% of all postsecondary students took all classes online. These percentages have skyrocketed since 2020.
Home Access to Broadband Internet Will Help Kids Be Better Positioned For Future Success
In the rural EUP, we are familiar with the lack of access to the Internet. Did you know that students who have home access to Broadband Internet tend to do better in life? Having Internet in the home gives kids the chance to learn skills that kids in larger communities take for granted. A recent study done by the Michigan State University Quello Research Center and Merit Networks showed that having no computers or Internet at home resulted in a significant difference for students across socioeconomic factors (wealth, education, age, race, etc.2)
Learning from Home
The pandemic showed us that remote learning can work if students have the right tools. Schools everywhere are now creating distance learning options for students who need to miss classroom learning during the school year because of injuries, illnesses, or other reasons.
Online Job Training3
One of the big obstacles to good paying jobs in the EUP is the mismatch of skills to employment opportunities. Individuals don’t have the skills local employers are looking for. Several studies have shown that companies can improve productivity and profits with good employee training programs. A large portion of this training has moved online and can be done from home.
Telemedicine is a new term that describes using the Internet to visit a doctor or nurse online using video without the patient needing to leave home.
Regular Office Visits Done with Telemedicine4
Use of online visits to doctors has increased by 38 times in 2021 compared to 2020. 40% of patients who use telemedicine say they plan to keep using it. Telemedicine is becoming a popular method for visits like regular appointments and mental health therapy that no longer need to be done in person.
Visiting Specialists without Traveling
Telemedicine lets individuals visit medical specialists located in distant cities. This is especially helpful for individuals living in the EUP where travel can be an issue because of distance or weather.
Reducing Hospital Stays after Surgery5
Doctors and hospitals are using the Internet to monitor patients in their homes after surgery. This usually means using devices that measure things like blood pressure or heartbeat patterns. Doctors are finding that this saves lives since they can see problems coming early.
Keeping Seniors at Home6
There is now a whole industry making devices that use the Internet to help people instead of going to nursing homes. This includes devices like health monitors and cameras.
Technologies for those with Disabilities7
There are a lot of new devices that use the Internet to help those with disabilities in their everyday lives.
World's Information at Our Fingertips
Finding information online is so easy today that we forget that 25 years ago almost nothing was online. There were 5.6 billion Google searches every day in 2021.
Americans spent $843 billion shopping online in 2021.
People are using apps like Etsy and eBay to make money by selling goods online. People are also using online apps like Fiverr and Freelancer to find part-time work.
65% of Americans used online banking in 2021. Many people have gone 100% cashless.
Online Government Services
Local, State, and the Federal government have put many of their services online. You can sign up for Social Security and other government benefits online. You can pay taxes or get a building permit online. You can watch local government meetings online.
We love watching movies and shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, YouTube, and many other Internet sites. 26% of all entertainment was watched online in 2021.
The American music industry has gone online. We listen to music on services like Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, and YouTube.
Gaming has moved online in the last few years. Gamers used to have to buy disks or download games, but the games are now played online. Gaming is now a huge market worth almost $86 billion in 2021.
Small newspapers have closed all over the country. Local radio stations covering local news are changing to national content. Many smaller communities now get news from Meta (Facebook) or a local website.
Millions of people now work from home using the Internet. Some of the major benefits from working at home include:
Boost the Local Economy
People in places like the EUP are finding jobs from companies in bigger
cities and making big-city salaries from their home. The higher salaries can benefit the local economy
in the EUP.
Start-up Business Creation
People working from home are starting a huge percentage of new businesses.
Some of these businesses will grow to become larger companies and support more local jobs.
Keeping Young People in the Community
One of the biggest complaints from parents in the EUP is that their
kids have to leave to find good-paying jobs. Working from home is going to let more young people find
good careers in the EUP.
Realtors are saying that it's getting difficult, and sometimes impossible, to sell a home that can't get good broadband.
Tourism is the biggest industry in the EUP. Tourists today want good broadband in hotels, inns, RV parks, and marinas. Many tourists won't visit places that don't have good broadband. Other tourist communities have found that having good broadband means that people will visit more often and stay longer.
Homes, farms, and businesses now use cameras to monitor their properties. It takes good broadband to be able to view the cameras when somebody is away from home.
In the Near Future
Some new cellphones in 2022 are now equipped with 8K cameras and YouTube is now carrying 8K content. This matters because it takes 100 Mbps broadband to watch an 8K video.
The next big thing in bandwidth demand will be telepresence. This means projecting a three-dimensional image of yourself into a game or into somebody else's living room. It's expected that a high-quality telepresence connection will need a 100 Mbps upload and download speed.
The gaming world is quickly moving towards the ability to project a detailed three-dimensional background into your living room. Think of this as the first generation of a Star Trek holodeck. This is such a hot new business that Facebook renamed itself as Meta to get ready for this new technology. Over the next ten years this might need a gigabit connection at home.
For Our Businesses
When you shop online, the company taking your orders needs a lot of bandwidth to be able to take many orders at the same time.
Businesses also use online portals to buy and sell to each other. The old days when a business had to call a salesperson to buy something are quickly disappearing.
Online Customer Service
You may have noticed that a lot of customer service has gone online. Companies often offer to chat with you while you are visiting their website.
These are the warehouses that ship the many billions of things that we buy online. For many warehouses, the entire process of taking and shipping orders is done using robots and technology (and broadband).
Communicate between Branches of a Business
Local businesses that are part of a bigger company now routinely keep an open broadband connection with the parent company all of the time. This allows the company to use one set of software located in one location to serve all locations of the business.
Voice over IP
Many businesses no longer buy telephone services from phone companies, but instead buy it for less online. Branches of a business can talk to each other for free.
Businesses are using Zoom and other kinds of online meeting software to save money on travel.
Supporting Remote Employees
When somebody works at home, the business needs to have a system in place to connect to these employees.
Corporations are using software that lets employees from different locations work on documents and projects at the same time online.
Companies are using security cameras and burglar alarm systems to monitor all their locations and to keep employees and properties safe.
A huge amount of the training for new employees is now done online. This is much like taking college classes online.
The Cloud means using software and computer systems that are located in big data centers instead of sitting inside of a business. Some of the more common cloud functions include:
Cloud Data Storage
Corporations are gathering and recording a lot more information than ever before, and it's cheaper and safer to store it in a data center.
Cloud Data Backup
This means storing the same information in multiple places so that data is not lost if there is a problem like a fire or a hacker attack.
Almost all of the major software packages now operate in the Cloud. Companies don't buy an individual copy of software like Microsoft Office for each employee, they buy it online for everybody. Most software is available in the Cloud such as software used for sales, collaboration, accounting, email, etc.
Hackers that steal or sabotage company data have gotten sophisticated, and companies know they can't protect data on their own. Companies now rely on companies in data centers that specialize in protecting data.
Local Governments are using online systems to make it easier for people to use their services. Some examples include:
This has been promised for decades, but we'restarting to see traffic light systems that change the traffic light patterns to react to people driving. This is going to cut down on the time that people spend waiting at redlights or getting stuck in traffic jams.
Smart streetlights only light when there is movement on a street, saving huge amounts of electricity and saving money on expensive light bulbs.
Cities are automating parking by tracking open parking spaces so that drivers can know where there is parking still open.
Broadband is helping public safety. Firefighters can pull up floorplans before going into a burning building. Police can access records from locations all over counties without having to return to headquarters. Police departments are installing cameras in high-crime areas and getting permission from homeowners to view streets from front porch cameras.
Cities are using sensors for many reasons like notifying when public trashcans are full, tracking air quality, letting the public see the progress of snowplows in real-time. Pollution and chemical monitors can warn about cut gas mains and chemical spills and warn the public faster.
Electric, water, and gas utilities have embraced smart technologies that improve reliability and cut costs.
Electric Smart Grid
Smart Grid technology can locate electric outages immediately to speed up repairs. The electric company can now control transformers and other devices on poles to keep the network operating better. Electric companies are getting good at monitoring the network electric usage exactly in order to save on buying or producing more power. The electric companies need smart systems to bring solar and wind power safely into the grid.
Smart Water Systems
Smart monitoring allows a water utility to identify underground leaks, which can waste as much as a fourth of all the water used in a community. Smart monitoring allows the water company to maintain good water pressure everywhere.
Smart Gas and Smart Pipelines
These systems track pressure in enough detail to identify leaks before the public is endangered. Smart controls allow the network operator to maintain the proper pressure throughout the network.
Agriculture Goes Digital
Every industry is developing specialized uses for the Internet and broadband. One of the most important
industries in the EUP is agriculture. The following are a few of the ways that the Internet is
improving our farms.
Today farmers often say that they feel more like an IT professional than a farmer, because modern farms are using software and the Internet for many functions like the following:
Controlling Equipment and Machinery
Almost all farm equipment used for plowing, seeding, weeding, and harvesting is now available as self-driving units. Broadband is needed to tell the equipment where to operate. Many farms still send along a person to make sure the equipment does what it's supposed to, but we are already seeing farms where the equipment works by itself. There are also many other forms of automated equipment like corn dryers, watering systems, etc., that the farmer can control from anywhere.
Tracking Soil Conditions
Many farms now do an annual test of soil conditions to figure out the needs of the soil for each part of the fields. These tests can be done by smart tractors or flying drones. This process generates gigantic files that must be loaded to the Internet for analysis by specialists.
Livestock farms are probably the most advanced in terms of automation. For example, dairy farmers track the status of each cow in detail to keep cows in top health to produce the most milk.
Tracking the Market
Farmers have gotten sophisticated and can directly sell their crops on the worldwide markets.
Supporting Farm Workers
Farmers who need seasonal labor are in competition with other farmers since there is a shortage of workers. Workers want to work for farms that have good broadband to stay in touch with their families and to find the next harvest.
There is a huge amount of investment in the country for what are being called smart factories. This means factories that use sophisticated software, robots, and are connected to the Cloud . Some of the ways that smart factories need broadband include:
Modern factories have automated moving materials around the factory, assembling, packing, and shipping as much as possible. Workers are needed for the functions that can't be automated and to maintain the robots and automation.
Controlling Manufacturing Processes
Processes that involve the mixing of chemicals and other complex processes are being automated. This allows for following the detailed steps needed for chemical processes to allow for the safe manufacturing of complex drugs and other chemicals and materials.
Customization of Products
Smart factories can customize products for each customer.
Supply Chain Management
Factories are saving a lot of money by not having to keep raw materials and finished goods in a warehouse. Food is made as ordered and shipped immediately.