Date: September 14th, 2018
Satellite is Not Broadband
High-quality connectivity needs to be fast, affordable, and reliable. Satellite is none of the three.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. — For most of rural America, options for high-speed Internet access are very limited, if they exist at all. Unfortunately, some of the federal funding intended to help fix that problem isn’t being put toward solutions that will be effective in the long-term.
A new fact sheet from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance details the shortcomings of satellite Internet access and why it should not be considered an an adequate solution for communities. Satellite is unreliable, slow, and has high latency-- all of which make activities such as working from home, taking online classes, completing business operations, or even just watching Netflix almost impossible. It also tends to come with bad service plans that lock subscribers into long-term, expensive commitments paired with data caps that limit usage even further.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently announced the second round of providers who received funding from the Connect America Fund Phase II Auction. Viasat, a satellite broadband provider and one of the only big winners, was awarded $122.5 million. This funding is intended to expand high-speed Internet access in the United States, but as ILSR makes clear in the fact sheet, satellite is not the answer rural America needs. For a deeper dive into the technical side of things, a recent podcast from ILSR features a discussion between Jonathan Chambers, director of Conexon, and Christopher Mitchell, director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Initiative, about the Connect America Fund auction.
If you're interested in learning more about why satellite is not the solution for rural America’s broadband problems from Christopher Mitchell, please email back here or schedule an interview through Jess Del Fiacco at 612-540-5997.