On May 13, 2011, PBS's Need to Know aired a story about the gap between the United States and Europe when it comes to internet access and broadband. While the U.S. is behind the advances made by Europe in the field of broadband, there's another story to be told: the gap between broadband access in rural areas compared to urban areas within the United States.
While many internet providers claim to give access to broadband, a lack of definition to the term leaves many Americans wondering if they are receiving the best service. Specifically in our rural communities, like those in midwest Minn., companies providing "high-speed" internet may only be getting users a moderately-fast download speed, while upload speeds are severely lacking. This becomes a problem when companies--like Nephropath in Montevideo, Minn.--need to communicate and send medical billing reports to their home office in Ark. And while dial-up may be ancient history for many internet users in the country, some of these areas are only now able to upgrade to faster DSL connections.
Pioneer Public TV takes a look at the situation by exploring the stories of people who are lacking fast, reliable internet access; companies that are struggling to keep up with the demand of supplying high-speed fiber connections in rural communities and how our representatives in Washington, D.C. are handling the problem.