Everything these days lives of dies on the internet – businesses, public services, restaurant menus, job applications, hobbies, friendships, educational resources, security feeds, you name it. The internet has made its way into the home of every person with a modest income and it’s hard to imagine that our society wouldn’t collapse without it.
In our modern day cities where relevant information changes hourly, a good internet connection has become as important as other needs that human beings have had throughput history – food, shelter, education. It’s crucial to surviving in the world as we know it.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) presumably realizes these same things since it announced last week that it wants to do its part to make it easier for all Americans, including those with low income, to benefit from subsidized access to broadband connection.
Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman, has asked his colleagues at the FCC to upgrade the Lifeline program that presently helps a number of poor families pay for landline or mobile phone bills. He wants to change the program so that those qualified low-income would also be helped to pay for a broadband connection.
A 2013 study showed that while most American citizens have an internet connection in their homes, only half of the adults who make less than $30,000 per year do so. What’s more, 15 percent (15%) of Americans still don’t have an internet connection in their homes.
However, while Tom Wheeler’s intentions might be good, each low-income family only receives a $9.25 per month subsidy from the Lifeline program, a project which launched in 1985. This has led industry experts to believe that we will soon find ourselves having to deal with a new marketplace, that of low-cost internet access.
The new marketplace on its own would not be a bad thing, it would allow poor families to improve their lives, maybe even overcoming their current financial situation and eventually moving on to have a modest salary.
This would most likely mean that the broadband market would be slip in two – one for needy families who receive funds from the Lifeline program and could not pay their internet bill otherwise, and for people who pay their internet bill without any kind of subsidy.
What this most likely means, is that people who can afford to pay for broadband on their own, would be faced with higher prices than they have to pay right now since it would become a competitive market.
Currently, the average internet speed for standard landline networks is 21.8 Mbps in North America, as well as in Western Europe. But, with the rhythm that technology progresses at, you can expect that average speed to become over 40 Mbps by the time we reach 2019.
Average internet speed for standard landline networks are expected to go from 7.2 Mbps to 16.9 Mbps by the time we reach 2019, while the Middle East and Africa are only expected to reach 14.9 Mbps by the same year.
The biggest reason why internet speeds keep improving at such a rapid pace is video. Live streaming has become a big hit with masses of people from around the world in recent years, not to mention the quality of our screens keeps getting better with each new release. No one wants to watch a blurry, slow moving video on a high-definition screen.
Unfortunately for Asian citizens, neither India, nor Indonesia will reach 14.9 Mbps by 2019. Experts say that their speeds will be much lower than that. What this means is that people living in developing countries are facing much larger issues, such as not being able to run an online business properly, or not being able to properly monitor security.
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