Showing posts with label american community survey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label american community survey. Show all posts

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Georgia county records lowest broadband internet access in the nation

Percentage of households in Georgia with broadband internet subscriptions, 2017
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Increasingly, having access to high-speed broadband is a necessity for families and businesses looking to strive in the modern world. While many families depend on cellphones, broadband internet is important to access more complicated services that involve longer forms and more complex information.

New information from the U.S. Census Bureau finds that the percentage of households in Georgia with access a broadband internet subscription varies widely with metro counties and more affluent counties showing far higher rates than more rural counties and counties with lower income households in Georgia.

Of the 159 counties in Georgia, 17 counties show household broadband internet subscription rates below 50%, while only 55 of the 159 counties showed rates above 70%.

Forsyth and Cherokee counties both recorded household broadband internet subscription rates above 90%. At the other end of the spectrum, Telfair and Wheeler counties recorded household broadband internet subscription rates of less than 25%.

At 24.9%, Telfair County has recorded the nation's lowest broadband subscription rate for counties with a population of more than 10,000 or more.

The 2013-2017 American Community Survey (ACS) estimates that nationally, 78% of households subscribe to the internet, but households in both rural and lower-income counties trail the national average by 13 points.

The Census Bureau defines broadband internet subscriptions as any service that is capable of delivering faster speeds than “dial up” — no longer used by most, but still used by less than 1 percent of households nationally.

Households without broadband internet connections are less able to fully participate in American society, whether that means reaching educational sources or conducting job searches.

Access to a broadband internet connection is becoming crucial, not only to access information but to interact with government agencies, as government agencies are requiring citizens to access their services via websites that are replacing local offices as the primary source of information and support.

As governments look to cut costs, they are looking to websites to provide services.

In Georgia, this includes services to lower income families including applying for Medical Assistance, Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-SNAP), PeachCare for Kids, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

All of these services are accessed through the online Georgia Gateway, the home of Georgia's eligibility determination system for a number of social benefit programs.

With the Georgia General Assembly planning to focus on rural issues in their upcoming 2019 session, hopefully broadband internet access will be one of their top topics next year.