Use of broadband providers surged up to 60% in some areas of the United States over the course of the pandemic, causing access problems in some areas as people used video conferencing and work-from-home options, CNET reports (via MSN).
Currently about 6% of the US population doesn’t have a broadband provider available who can deliver at minimal acceptable speed, a number that jumps significantly–to 35%–in rural areas. While many people have a broadband provider in their areas, the cost of the service is out of reach for some poor and working class families.
A study by the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group found that “downstream” use increased–for things such as downloading programs or movies–but “upstream” use–the amount of data one puts on to the internet for others–jumped significantly more at people used teleconferencing services for everything from work to school to family connections.
On most broadband systems, “upstream” loading speeds are significantly slower than download speeds, and the more people using the same broadband community hub can make internet access glitchy for users. Some access issues relate to the use of outdated wifi systems, routers or modems inside the home.
The Biden Administration’s infrastructure plan provides $20 billion to upgrade American’s broadband delivery, particularly to rural areas.