One of the five main barriers to broadband adoption is a lack of understanding of how valuable Internet access is to individuals and families. According to the Michigan Consortium of Advanced Networks Broadband Roadmap Report, broadband access has a significant impact to the well being of citizens.
Household Income Increase
Reduction in Rates of Injury and Crime
Increase in Farmer Revenue
The 2020 pandemic highlighted and exacerbated an existing problem created by lack of good Internet access at home: Education inequality. Over 70% of the teachers nationwide assign homework requiring broadband access while only 67% of students have the necessary access.
Get Started with Broadband Access
There are three key things to consider when starting your broadband access service:
Broadband service is offered by a service provider. Providers can be of two major types:
- WIRED – Service is delivered over a telephone line, cable or optical fiber
- WIRELESS – Service is delivered over wireless technologies similar to cellular phone service
Wired services could be more consistent and reliable than wireless but it is not always available in your region. Over 118,000 North Carolinians don’t have access to wired internet access providers.
The more providers available in your region, the more competitive the service prices. 816,000 North Carolinias have access to only one internet access provider.
Broadband service is characterized by two main performance metrics:
- DOWNLOAD SPEED – Measures how fast data can be pulled from the Internet
- UPLOAD SPEED – Measures how fast data can be sent to the Internet
The most common home use requires download speeds higher than upload speeds. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines an internet connection as broadband to provide a minimum of 25 Mbps download speed and a minimum of 3 Mbps upload speed.
The average download speed in North Carolina is 53.1 Mbps.
Service pricing depends on the performance of the service and how competitive the local market is. Prices change if additional services are bundled along with Internet access.
Providers often times offer equipment rental to set up your home network. If you are willing to set up your home network, purchasing your own router will be the most cost effective option.
Recommendation: The number of devices and types of applications used in your home are the main factors in deciding how fast your internet access should be. For example, email and web browsing require a minimum of 1-5 Mbps while High Definition (HD) streaming requires a minimum of 15-25 Mbps.
Understand the way you and your family is using Internet access at home and chose the plan that meets your needs. A 25 Mbps service, the slowest service still categorized as broadband will meet most of your internet needs.
Caution: The actual and the advertised performance of broadband services are not always aligned. While the FCC monitors the performance of broadband access, service providers often time manage the data in their favor.
Rural areas typically suffer from lack of access or a limited number of providers offering services. Nationwide, rural internet access download speed average is close to 16 Mbps while the upload speed average is close to 5.5 Mbps.
Resources to Plan Your Service
Calculate your broadband speed needs
Find a provider in your region using your zip code. Compare plans and prices.
If you do not have a broadband service offering in your area, let us know.
Evaluate the speed of your internet connection.
Would you be interested in helping us track the quality of broadband access in North Carolina?