Why Broadband Is Important

Broadband, or reliable high-speed internet, allows people more affordable and efficient access to basic amenities such as education, health care, public safety and government services by:

  • Affording people opportunities to participate in online learning and distance education. High-speed internet networks enhance educational experiences by providing students and teachers with access to an array of resources, including text-based materials, photos, videos, music, animations, interactive lessons and oral history collections. Broadband also opens classroom walls, allowing students to participate in distance learning opportunities at any time from any location they can access the internet, such as libraries, school and home.
  • Giving entrepreneurs and small- and home-based business owners opportunities to compete with large corporations. High-speed internet enables local communities, regions and nations to develop, attract, retain and expand job-creating businesses and institutions. 
  • Increasing the productivity and efficiency of businesses that use the internet for their operations. High-speed internet also improves the productivity and profitability of large, small and home-based businesses and allows them to compete in local, national and global markets.
  • Connecting patients in remote areas to health care services. High-speed internet makes remote access to clinical services possible for patients and provides significantly improved, cost-effective access to quality health care. It also allows physicians to monitor their patients through innovative home health devices, avoiding expensive house calls and giving patients real-time feedback.
  • Making government services more readily available to residents. High-speed internet helps government agencies improve quality, lower costs and increase transparency by improving internal operations and making it easier for residents to interact with them online.
  • Saving companies and organizations money by letting employees work remotely. Studies show that commuters drive 53% to 77% less on days they telecommute than on days when they drive into work. As well, a three-day-a-week telecommuter can save an average of $5,878 per year in commuting costs and avoid putting 9,060 pounds of pollutants into the environment.
  • Allowing friends and families to stay entertained and in touch with one another. High-speed internet is essential to enjoy 21st-century entertainment. Streaming video, online gaming and connecting with friends and relatives via social media are only possible because of broadband.
  • Enables environmental sustainability. High-speed internet allows buildings to communicate with utilities and utilities to communicate with each other and the energy market, providing real-time information to both buildings and homes. These include smart buildings and smart grids, which hold great promise for dramatic reductions and greater efficiencies in energy consumption.
  • Plays a significant role in revitalizing previously blighted urban communities. Fully wired communities in reinvigorated neighborhoods can provide residents with opportunities to take career and skill development classes at community centers, allow for more effective public safety and contribute to greater economic growth, entrepreneurship and job creation.
  • Helps address the needs of people with disabilities. Through various broadband-based applications and supporting technologies, those who are deaf or hearing impaired can use webcams to communicate with one another through sign language. People who are blind or visually impaired can use screen reader programs that audibly describe website material to users. Software programs now exist to interpret screen content into Braille. Broadband also permits users of telecommunications relay services to use video relay services to communicate more readily with voice telephone users.