Several factors, including geography and population density, account for the 71 percent of American households that the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) details barriers to high-speed Internet adoption. Twenty-eight percent of American households subscribed to broadband service in 2005, about 30 million homes. Of the remaining 71 percent of households, 30 percent subscribe to dial-up Internet service, and 41 percent have no home access.
Among broadband subscribers, distribution between cable modemand DSL was almost evenly split. DSL is less likely to serve rural residents; service is only available within a three-mile radius of a central office. Certain household factors make residents more or less likely to subscribe to broadband services. Households with high incomes are 39 percent more likely to subscribe to broadband than lower-income households. College-educated heads of households are 12 percent more likely to adopt broadband than households headed by someone without a college degree. While price remains a barrier to adoption, the cost of broadband services has declined over time.
Tax is a barrier to subscribing when it equals 10 percent, however when tax amounts to only 5 percent of the rate it doesn't affect subscription rates among rural residents and lower-income households. Broadband providers are available for all but 1 percent of the country's population. Ninety-nine percent of Americans live in 95 percent of the Zip Codes that have at least one ISP offering broadband access. While it appears companies continue to build out infrastructure for broadband access, geography and population density deter providers from further deployment.
Federal programs like the Universal Service Fund (USF) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) have increased the uptake of broadband service in rural areas. Due to rugged terrain, it's more expensive to deploy land-based broadband in rural areas. The same areas are less populated and return smaller revenues. Broadband providers are more likely to enter a particular market if there's no existing competition, though the land grab appears to be over. By contrast, incumbent telecom and cable providers are likely to roll out or enhance services in markets with new competition. Satellite broadband internet service is a viable alternative to traditional broadband services.
What is Satellite Internet Service? Satellite Internet services are used in locations where terrestrial Internet access is not available and in locations which move frequently. Internet access via satellite is available worldwide, including vessels at sea. There are three types of satellite internet service: 1. One-way multicast Satellite Internet Systems - used for IP multicast-based data, audio and video distribution.
2. One-Way Terrestrial Return Satellite Internet Systems - used with traditional dial-up access to the Internet, with outbound data traveling through a telephone modem, but downloads are sent via satellite at a speed near that of broadband Internet access. 3. Two-way satellite Internet service - sends and receives data from remote sites via satellite to a hub, which then sends the data to the Internet. Most of the systems you will recognize today offer two way satellite internet service.
Be warned though, the download speeds ussually far exceed the upload speeds. This means that they work well for browsing the web or downloading files, but often bog down when trying to upload a particularly large file. There are some criticisms to this technology. All satellite Internet providers have been criticized for their high network latency, which makes the service unusable for many applications.
One example is online gaming. In an application where communication and synchronization are key factors, these systems often come up short. Other applications such as instant messaging, Voice over IP or video conferencing also suffer due to the increased latency. Such applications typically require a near-real time performance (with the exception of instant messaging) to provide a minimal quality of service and facilitate natural communication.
The more annoying and often inconvenient aspect of satellite internet service is the effects of severe weather. Satellite internet generally operates in a frequency band called Ku band which suffers from degraded performance during very heavy rain. This type of rain fade can cause outages in the HughesNet service similar to outages suffered by satellite TV Services, which also primarily operate at Ku band.
Price is another common complaint. Satellite High Speed Internet services usually are priced from $59.99/month and up. The initial start up cost is also a bit expensive. It can run over $500 dollars for the installation and equipment. However, this is often offset by "cash back offers.
" These initial costs can also be broken up into monthly payments. If you are a small business person or self-employed and want to work from your home or office, but don't have access to either DSL or Cable Modem internet service, then this is definitely an affordable alternative to dial up service. If your application requires heavy graphic or data uploads or large amounts of bandwidth, then perhaps a T1 or fractional T1 service is best suited to your needs.
Scott Pimental is an independent telecommunications consultant specializing in working with small business owners to find the best telecommunication solutions for their small business. His site, AmtecDigital.com has created a one-stop-shop interface that will allow you to see real-time price and availability of high speed internet services in your local area. You can visit his website at http://www.amtecdigital.com