SAU Buzz

FCC to spend $2 billion in rural broad-band expansion

by Moira Stephens
Posted on Oct 04, 2018

Internet: necessity or luxury? To everyone on St. Ambrose’s campus, it is a necessity.  With a mandatory math or statistics class, it is almost a guarantee that online homework will be a requirement.  And with capstone projects and research papers, the Internet is needed for sources, citing assistance, and communicating with professors.


To others in rural areas, Internet is a luxury that occupants didn’t know they needed.  However, the Federal Communications Commission recently announced an impactful expansion to extend broadband to those areas that are not getting served. The grant-loan of $425 million will be used for the US Department of Agricultural Rural Utilities Services.


“It isn’t a situation where it’s controlled by the ‘Internet Era’ but is largely driven by funding,” Jon Anderson, Chief Engineer of the Communications Center.  


It’s no secret that the industry is ever-growing, especially with an increased use of social media for advertising, entertainment, and even voter-awareness.  But, this usage growth is only happening in the audience that has never wanted for Internet access, unless there was an outage.


“There are some areas, particularly in the western part of the country, that aren’t very populated and established, so the cost of driving out there and back for service people is just too high to make sense,” Anderson said.


Geography is a factor in broadband: one-third of rural residents and 41 percent of Native Americans are without Internet. However, money is also an issue.  The cost of a monthly Internet service in the Quad Cities is roughly $30 per month, and that is with the least amount of usage. There are people down the street from campus that are unaware of the privileges of Internet surfing and Netflix streaming.  


The FCC released a press release that states this project will take 10 years and will cost $2 billion.