There’s good news for those who live in rural areas. You are probably aware that high-speed internet access tends to not be as good in rural areas as it is in urban areas, but that may all change in the future. However, federal regulators and service providers are still battling things out in court, all because of new rules regarding net neutrality. There is a section within the rules that address broadband providers from offering paid prioritization, as well as throttling or blocking content on the internet.
Now for the part that is potentially great news for those living in rural areas with less than perfect internet connection. As part of the new rules, broadband carriers will be classed as common carriers under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. Some believe that this creates a framework for internet service providers in rural areas, which means they may end up having to comply with regulations.
There is something called the Universal Service Fund, or USF for short, and what this is, is an edition of the Telecommunications Act and it is designed to help expand universal access of communications to rural or high-cost areas via federal subsidies, as well as carrier contributions. As you can see, if ISPs are classified as common carriers, then they could end up investing a lot of money into the USF, which means high-speed internet could be coming to rural areas.
However, there is a problem that may prove to be a problem, and that is ISPs may potentially be allowed to withhold contributions to the USF. As of now, things are still in the legal process, therefore it may be quite sometime before those in rural areas can enjoy high-speed access.
In other words, people will have to wait and see what happens from hereon. There is a good chance that ISPs will end up providing high-speed internet access to consumers in rural areas, but as for how long it will be until they do, and whether or not they are definitely planning on expanding high-speed internet services to rural areas, nobody is 100% certain.
Things do look good and we predict that more and more consumers in rural areas will have high-speed internet access within the next 3-6 years, but only time will tell what happens in the future.