There is a 65 billion dollar initiative that is now Widening the Digital Divide. The list of reasons is pretty ugly. Infighting of incumbents, the apparent failure of Starlink, and companies who took millions of dollars, meant to provide rural bandwidth, now filing for bankruptcy, and leaving rural populations without the connectivity that already had been paid for. All of this and more to follow, but first I think it is important to understand just why we need Broadband in rural areas anyway?
Do you remember having to dig around in your junk drawer to find a Chinese food menu?
Taking a class or checking a stack of books out of the library every time you wanted to learn a new skill?
Driving over to the Blockbuster to rent a video?
Printing out reports at school or work to submit them?
Paying bills by mail with a check?
Now all of these tasks and plenty of others can be taken care of with just a few clicks or over email as long as you can access Broadband Internet.
And you lose all of this if you don’t have broadband internet. We have a generation, that has lost all of this, and we are about to produce another generation, that will be lost if things stay just the way they are.
The Problems –
- Rural areas with less than eight homes per route mile, and a minimum cost of $50,000 per mile for fiber.
- States like New Mexico and Idaho have an average population density of fewer than 20 people per square mile. The majority of the state is in areas with less than 8 subscribers per mile.
- Amid a massive new wave of broadband funding, a new type of barrier has emerged – State Restrictions prohibiting Metropolitan or community networks from receiving these federal funds. – Today Washington & Arkansas have moved to Eliminate Restrictions with more states to come in 2023 and most states have plans to do so before 2024.
Community or Metropolitan networks were originally banned by law. (mostly because the incumbents could not compete)
The legislation provided a level playing ground for incumbent telcos who had a very hard time competing with wireless communities or metropolitan networks (WISP). Verizon, ATT, no one could compete competitively with smaller homegrown community networks, then referred to as Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISP) so legislation was created to protect them.
Community networks (WISP) Scale very quickly. The Majority of adoption occurs at the edge of the network, and at zero marginal cost.
Marketing is completely different, you tell your neighbor they can get 1 gig of internet for 1 dollar a gig, just like you do. Remember Community or Metropolitan networks were originally banned by law. (mostly because the incumbents could not compete)
Today in the US the average price for broadband is 62.00 a month which ranks us in the top quarter of the 117 countries as far as price.
Yet if the US were in Europe it would have the most expensive internet in the region. Source: https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/internet-costs-compared-worldwide
The Summary –
The broadband market is ripe for change as traditional services fully mature and participants seek to maximize profitability and new revenue streams.
Consumers now value technology more than ever and are increasingly seeking out new applications including Wi-Fi services and various value-added bundled services.
The most significant events and trends that impact the broadband industry include disruptive technologies, changing consumer trends, and the competitive landscape.
The Solution –
4G/5G to Wi-Fi Rural Mesh networks – Yes it works amazingly well, in fact, I’m currently publishing on it. And checking email, and probably some youtube and some Netflix tonight.
None of my neighbors will be if it snows or the wind blows. My neighbors out here use satellite, or DSL only, well until last week, now there is 4G/5G to WI-fi through, but just for my place.
I am setting up a website to teach others how to do the same thing as I am, and maybe even sell bandwidth to their neighbors as a side hustle. I will be updating this site daily starting February 11th 2023. You can find out more here – https://LastMile.Earth
A few years back, there was a push to bridge the digital divide. You might remember some of the statistics like Broadband access in rural areas is linked to better education scores and increased job and population growth, higher rates of new business formation and home values, and lower unemployment rates.
The majority of us who have broadband access, use it to keep in touch with friends and then play games with them, and then we use driving APPs and mobile broadband, to navigate the world with them.
All of the improvements associated with computers or phones are dependent on broadband internet. Fast, reliable broadband internet has changed the way we live our lives dramatically in just a few short decades.
Here are just some ways broadband internet has changed our lives:
Who Needs a Travel Agent?
Once upon a time, you’d call a travel agent when it was time to plan your vacation. They’d line up your flights, hotels, and excursions – and hopefully get you a better deal than you’d get by booking yourself. Now you can find up-and-coming travel destinations, get prices for a hundred different hotels, find the cheapest possible flights, and book activities on sites like Expedia, then pay for it all with a click.
Standing Online at the Bank?
No Thanks! There was a time when you could check your balance online and maybe pay a bill on your bank’s website, but depositing money still required trekking to the closest branch. Broadband internet has made efficient real-time online banking possible, so now those of us who prefer not to chat with a teller can make transfers, payments, and deposits using our phones.
Borders as Barriers?
Now You Can Have a Global Village Geographic distance is no longer a barrier to making friends thanks to broadband internet. Through social media and other means, you can meet and connect with people from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Staying in touch can mean chatting on Facebook, shooting off an email, or spending time together via video chats. And your sphere can be wider in other ways, too, because you can read newspapers, watch films, and listen to music from other countries whenever the mood strikes you.
Your perspective is limited only by your curiosity.
Automation Has Made Thoughtful Energy Consumption Easy Thanks to broadband internet, our thermostats, appliances, and vehicles can learn from us and one another. Changing our energy consumption habits has historically been tough, but today some networked gadgets and appliances will do the hard work for you and set themselves for maximum efficiency. The Nest thermostat was only the beginning! More and more devices that can access information about weather and other conditions, average consumption habits across populations, and your personal or household habits are hitting the market every month.
As these are integrated into more new home construction, smarter energy use will eventually become the default.
Now all of these tasks and plenty of others can be taken care of with just a few clicks as long as you can access Broadband Internet.
And you lose all of this if you don’t have broadband internet.
So I am sure you agree, spending money to solve this issue is worth at the very least some amount of investment in time effort, and energy. And didn’t we hear the politicians say they were going to set aside money to help with this problem? I seem to remember some politicians somewhere touting a 65 billion dollar expenditure for Rural Broadband somewhere.
What happened to that?
Well, it seems there has been limited success. Mostly where expensive fiber-to-the-door infrastructure is developed using federal grants. For the most part, the money has been spent. And the digital divide somehow seems wider after all of that hoopla. We have lost one generation, and we are about to lose the next.
Rural areas with less than eight homes per route mile, and a cost of $50,000 per mile for fiber? States like New Mexico and Idaho have an average population density of fewer than 20 people per square mile. The majority of the population lives in areas with less than 8 subscribers per mile.
President Biden’s infrastructure plan included $80 billion to connect unserved areas to high-speed broadband networks. The plan has been christened the American Jobs Plan because of the jobs that will be created to build the new infrastructure.
- Build high-speed broadband infrastructure to reach 100 percent coverage. The President’s plan prioritizes building “future-proof” broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas so that we finally reach 100 percent high-speed broadband coverage. It also prioritizes support for broadband networks owned, operated by, or affiliated with local governments, non-profits, and co-operatives—providers with less pressure to turn profits and with a commitment to serving entire communities. Moreover, it ensures funds are set aside for infrastructure on tribal lands and that tribal nations are consulted in program administration. Along the way, it will create good-paying jobs with labor protections and the right to organize and bargain collectively.
- Promote transparency and competition. President Biden’s plan will promote price transparency and competition among internet providers, including by lifting barriers that prevent municipally-owned or affiliated providers and rural electric co-ops from competing on an even playing field with private providers, and requiring internet providers to disclose the prices they charge.
- Reduce the cost of broadband internet service and promote more widespread adoption. Building out broadband infrastructure isn’t enough. We also must ensure that every American who wants to can afford high-quality and reliable broadband internet. While the President recognizes that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term, he believes continually providing subsidies to cover the cost of overpriced internet service is not the right long-term solution for consumers or taxpayers.
- Americans pay too much for the internet – much more than people in many other countries – and the President is committed to working with Congress to find a solution to reduce internet prices for all Americans, increase adoption in both rural and urban areas, hold providers accountable, and save taxpayer money.
The mountain hollows around McKee (pronounced “hollers” by the locals) were once home to Daniel Boone. Today, homes can use urban-grade high-speed fiber connections to stream Daniel Boone movies and television shows. But the importance of those high-speed connections is far beyond television shows. The ability to work from home was a standard practice long before the rest of us discovered it during the pandemic. The ability to find employment without leaving home has been important to everyone, but particularly important to individuals with disabilities.
Thanks to the fiber-to-the-home connection, when COVID hit, students were prepared for remote learning.
It was the network of the 19th century—the railroad—that created the King Coal economy throughout the Appalachian region. But then King Coal died and the areas suffered. The network of the 21st century—the broadband internet—is helping recovery in those areas. There is a profound difference between the two networks, however.
The railroad was extractive, taking assets from the community to be consumed elsewhere. Broadband fiber is additive, bringing economic activity from afar to the area. Residents do tech support for Apple, for instance, just as if they were in Silicon Valley instead of an Appalachian valley.
But it is neither inexpensive nor easy to make new broadband connections. Together, Owsley and Jackson Counties have slightly over 18,000 residents and the fiber network passes 7,800 homes. At a cost of about $50,000 per mile ($50 million for the whole project), building a fiber network to serve an average of fewer than eight homes per route mile is not a get-rich-quick effort. The mountainous terrain required the use of a mule named Old Bub to haul the cable. Yet, the local telephone cooperative—Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative (PRTC)—stepped up to the challenge with the help of funding from the federal government. The price for 100 Megabit symmetrical internet service is only $39.95 per month, far below the national average.
The Kentucky experience illustrates the power of fiber connections to create jobs after the construction crews have gone home. When the fiber came to the areas around McKee, employment increased despite the collapse of the area’s main employer, the coal industry.
Next door to Jackson County and also on the fiber network, Owsley County is one of the nation’s poorest counties. Yet, between 2014, when the fiber network was completed, and 2019, unemployment in the county fell five percentage points, more than any other county in the state. Today, in a classic “if you build it, they will come,” residents of Owsley and Jackson counties work online, mostly from home, for companies as diverse as Amazon, Hilton, and Apple. They have professional, high-paying jobs as customer service agents, tech support, and health insurance support. The network, with only 7,000 customers, has created 1,100 jobs generating $24 million in new annual payrolls through the end of 2020, according to Keith Gabbard, its general manager.
All of this is great, and as far as the infrastructure build-out, this is as far as we have come. We have supplied fiber to some of the areas with eight homes per route mile.
And by some I mean, Way less than you would think from how much we paid. So now what about the other half of the country?
Well Not so much. Take the case of Starry Internet
October 20, 2022 – Starry Internet (Connect Everyone LLC) has defaulted on all of its Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) Phase I auction-winning bids.
Starry won $268,851,315.90 in 10-year RDOF support to serve 108,506 locations in 9 states (Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Mississippi, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia). 
The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau announced it was ready to authorize Starry’s RDOF winning bids in all the states in which Starry had placed winning bids except for Mississippi on August 31, 2022. 
Sometime thereafter, Starry notified the Bureau of its plan to default on all RDOF winning bids. 
Who Is Starry?
Starry is a relatively new Internet service provider that primarily serves densely populated cities. It uses fixed wireless technology to provide last-mile service.  Here’s how Starry described itself to the FCC in its petition for eligible telecommunications carrier designation in Alabama and Virginia:
Starry is a facilities-based Internet service provider that has offered service since 2017. Starry’s network technology currently provides high-speed, low latency-service coverage to millions of households across six states and the District of Columbia. Starry’s mission is to connect millions of consumers to better broadband by offering high-speed, low-cost service with exceptional customer care.
So there you have it. Another RODF winner bites the dust. And it seems to be the same old story – a provider enters the RDOF auction claiming it can meet the service obligations and after winning, determines it’s not up to the task.
But, here’s the thing – Starry was a fixed wireless provider primarily serving major cities using what some would call a city-wide mesh network system. With RDOF, Starry was going to pivot to a more traditional fixed wireless service covering vast, sparsely-populated rural areas – 108,506 locations in 9 states and it failed. Starry will now be on the forfeiture hook with the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau for defaulting on its RDOF bids.
 Connect Everyone LLC, a Delaware Limited Liability Company, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starry, Inc. Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I Auction (Auction 904) Closes; Winning Bidders Announced; FCC Form 683 Due January 29, 2021, AU Docket No. 20-34, WC Docket 19-126, WC Docket No. 10-90, Public Notice, DA 20-1422, (Dec. 7, 2020), https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-20-1422A1.pdf.
 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support For 2,072 Winning Bids Ready To Be Authorized; Bid Defaults Announced; Listed Auction 904 Long-Form Applicants Must Submit Letters of Credit and Bankruptcy Code Opinion Letters by September 15, 2022; AU Docket No. 20-34, WC Docket No. 19-126, WC Docket No. 10-90, Public Notice, DA 22-911 (Aug. 31, 2022).
 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Support Authorized For 1,865 Winning Bids; Bid Defaults Announced, AU Docket No. 20-34, WC Docket No. 19-126, WC Docket No. 10-90, Public Notice, DA 22-1086, footnote 57 (Oct. 12, 2022), https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DA-22-1086A1.pdf.
 See Ben Popper, Jacob Kastrenakes, and Jordan Golson, The founder of Aereo is promising to bring gigabit internet to every home, The Verge (Jan. 27, 2016), https://www.theverge.com/2016/1/27/10841600/starry-wireless-gigabit-internet-project-from-aereo-founder.
 Connect Everyone LLC: Petition for Designation as an Eligible Telecommunications Carrier according to Section 214(e)(6) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, WC Docket No. 09-197, p. 2 (Jan. 6, 2021), https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/document/1010742383225/1.
 Id. at p. 3.
So what about Elon Musk and Space X, we can just do satellite communications right???? Well, so far nowhere near. Not even in the same galaxy.
The space launch services giant was recently rejected for nearly 900 million dollars in rural connectivity funding from the Wireline Competition Bureau (a branch of the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC).
Why did FCC reject Starlink?
In revoking the initial award to Starlink, the FCC highlighted concerns about the service’s recently declining speeds, specifically its upload speeds. To participate in the Phase I RDOF auction, a provider had to specify which service “tier” it would offer and demonstrate its ability to provide that service. Oct 5, 2022
What is the FCC ruling on Starlink?
The FCC imposed a limit on the number of satellites in SpaceX’s second generation of the Starlink constellation, also known as Gen2, in order “to address concerns about orbital debris and space safety.” Dec 1, 2022
This has started a terrestrial cascade event, as hundreds of companies, that participated in the Broadband Auctions, anticipated working off of the Starlink Networks.
“Starlink’s technology has real promise,” said FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel in a statement disclosing that the agency had rejected its long-form applications. But the FCC was hesitant to publicly subsidize Starlink’s developing technology, especially given that users need to purchase a $600 dish.
“We must put scarce universal service dollars to their best possible use as we move into a digital future that demands ever more powerful and faster networks,” FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel said. “We cannot afford to subsidize ventures that are not delivering the promised speeds or are not likely to meet program requirements.”
The FCC said the two companies both provided inadequate responses to questions and are not capable of complying with commission requirements.
The FCC cited data as of July 31 indicating Starlink’s speeds declined between the last quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022, and its upload speeds have fallen well below 20 Mbps.
SpaceX has steadily launched some 2,700 Starlink satellites since 2019 and has amassed hundreds of thousands of subscribers, including many who pay $110 a month for broadband internet using $599 self-install terminal kits.
To date, the FCC rural internet subsidy program has authorized less than $45 billion of the allocated $65 billion in funding to bring mostly fiber gigabit broadband service to over 3 million locations in 47 states.
To date, the FCC rural internet subsidy program has Not provided broadband to Rural areas with less than eight homes per route mile. States like New Mexico and Idaho have an average population density of fewer than 20 people per square mile. The majority of the population lives in areas with less than 8 subscribers per mile.
The use case for converged 4G/5G and Wi-Fi (See also Wireless)
Business Case for Converged 4G/5G and Wi-Fi
While cellular and Wi-Fi networks have co-existed for many years, new trends point to true convergence between network types.
Now, as ISPs launch mobile services and partner with mobile virtual network operators MVNOs, and MNOs launch new home internet services via their cellular networks, initiatives such as the Wireless Broadband Alliance’s OpenRoaming and PassPoint are also allowing for seamless roaming between public and private Wi-Fi networks – with plans to incorporate public and private 5G networks and eventually IoT devices as well.
The 3GPP, a leading cellular standards body, is building new mechanisms into its 5G standards to better support this convergence, with Release 15 of the 5G standards adding mechanisms to allow Wi-Fi networks to integrate into the 5G network and the upcoming Release 16 enabling improved integrations and performance in congested networks.
Top use cases for 4G/5G and Wi-Fi network convergence include:
- Seamless handovers between cellular and Wi-Fi when using data-intensive applications sensitive to jitter and requiring low latency. This use case is most of the interest for enterprises, campus networks, and industrial environments.
- Use of cellular networks to authenticate work-from-home employees and ensure secure access to corporate networks, while still enabling most of the data traffic to be carried over the residential Wi-Fi network.
- Improving the performance of Industry 4.0 deployments, enabling devices to connect in the most appropriate way for their specific requirements and environmental setting and fall back to another network in the case of dead spots or unexpected network behavior. Many current and planned Industry 4.0 deployments involve simultaneous side-by-side Wi-Fi and cellular networks.
The business case for converged 4G/5G and Wi-Fi is rapidly evolving. The Wireless Broadband Alliances’ OpenRoaming initiative stands to become the largest implementation of network convergence, once it incorporates 5G into its architecture. The initiative currently offers access to a network of over 1M live hotspots across over 1K live networks provided by over 300 entities including companies and cities.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance acts as the ecosystem policy authority, hosting and maintaining a global database of networks and identities and maintaining end-user terms and conditions.
Ecosystem brokers connect via API and manage the relationships with the intermediaries that handle financial agreements and service level and policy enforcement. Each end-user has a single identity managed by identity service providers such as Google, Intel, Samsung, Boingo, Single Digits, and others.
End users connect to access networks, authenticating via their identity provider, and are delivered service in line with their service level agreements. Participants can select settlement-free access or join a premium monetized network.
Participation requires the use of Passpoint-compliant Wi-Fi equipment.
(Other solutions do not and are less expensive to set up)
The Passpoint system enables decentralized relationships between participants, allowing roaming agreements to scale on a global level. Users can access Wi-Fi without logging in via SSID/password combinations or by navigating splash pages.
Managed Wi-Fi providers such as AirTies are deploying this functionality to their retail footprints in partnership with their ISP customers, allowing consumers to automatically connect to residential guest networks by using identity providers instead of entering in credentials manually.
Top use cases for OpenRoaming include the following:
- Smart Cities and Tourist Destinations
- Residential Networks
- Campuses and Enterprises
The OpenRoaming initiative is moving forward with additional technical activities including interoperability with private 5G networks, and the inclusion of IoT devices. This will support both Industry 4.0 in enterprise environments, smart city deployments, as well as a smart home in residential settings.
This is an excerpt from Parks Associates’ industry report, Residential Broadband: State of the Market. The broadband market is ripe for change as traditional services fully mature and participants seek to maximize profitability and new revenue streams.
Consumers now value technology more than ever and are increasingly seeking out new applications including Wi-Fi services and various value-added bundled services (the big opportunity).
This report evaluates the most significant events and trends that impact the broadband industry including disruptive technologies, changing consumer trends, and the competitive landscape. This research is written and authored by Research Director, Kristen Hannah.
Thanks for reading our research! If you need support navigating the changing broadband markets, please consider us as a trusted resource to support your strategic initiatives. www.parksassociates.com
And the list continues to grow
FCC Proposes Fines of $4.3M Against 73 RDOF Applicants for Defaults
And that just covers some of the FFC’s telecom initiatives.
The USDA Rural Development also provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas.
This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal, and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/id.
USDA Launches Rural Data Gateway to Strengthen Partnerships and Expand Access to Resources for People in Rural America
New Resource Makes It Easier for People to Access Data on USDA-funded Projects in Rural Communities
WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today unveiled the Rural Data Gateway, a new resource to make the Department’s data for rural projects easier to access for its partners and people living in rural communities.
The Rural Data Gateway will help USDA better target resources to the people who need them most in rural places. It also will help the Department be a stronger partner to rural people, entrepreneurs, government officials, and other stakeholders.
Lindsay is a working mother in McClellanville, South Carolina, and like many people living in rural communities, lacking access to reliable, high-speed internet used to be a challenge that affected her entire family.
“Especially when the kids came home from school, and I was still working, I would have to be like, ‘nobody gets on a tablet, nobody streams videos’… Even the kids had to wait to do their homework on their computers because if there was one other device besides my computer using the internet, it would bring me down.”
It felt like an untenable way to live in the modern, connected world.
That is until Home Telephone Company, with an assist from USDA Rural Development’s ReConnect Program, stepped in to extend high-speed internet services to several areas of Berkeley County, Dorchester County, and portions of the Greater Charleston area, of which McClellanville is included.
And in Lindsay’s words, “It’s been a game changer.”
“We have multiple devices, and everybody’s always running something. We’ve never had a glitch or interruption in service. It’s been beyond superior to what we had.”
Rural Development provided an $8,184,531 grant to fund the project. Home Telephone Company matched this funding for a total of $16,369,063. This enabled Home Telephone Company to extend fiber optic cable over 153 square miles, connecting 3,780 households, 19 educational facilities, eight critical community facilities, and families like Lindsay’s, to high-speed internet in the process.
Rural Development’s ReConnect Program furnishes loans and grants to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide high-speed internet service in eligible rural communities. Find out if ReConnect can do for your community what it did for the people in Orangeburg: https://www.usda.gov/reconnect.
What is holding wireless back? – Key Findings
- 17 states still have restrictive legislation in place against establishing municipal networks.
- Four additional states (Iowa, Colorado, Oregon, and Wyoming) have other forms of roadblocks in place that make operating municipal networks more difficult.
- Amid a massive new wave of broadband funding for states, a new type of barrier has emerged – prohibiting community networks from receiving these federal funds.
Washington & Arkansas Eliminate Restrictions
Both Washington and Arkansas introduced and passed bills in 2021 that eliminated barriers to establishing municipal broadband operations. Though some questions remained after these bills went into effect, thus far, no additional barriers have been put in place and no legal challenges have been issued when it comes to municipalities running their networks.
There are a variety of ways that state laws seek to limit any possible competition between ISPs and municipal broadband networks. Some bureaucratic barriers we considered include compliance with vague legal requirements, refraining from using specific financing mechanisms and pricing mechanisms, proposal-stage barriers, phantom cost requirements, and additional tax burdens imposed on community-owned broadband networks.
These state laws prevent municipalities from offering broadband service to residents if there is one commercial provider already offering service — or willing to begin offering service — in the jurisdiction.
These requirements are considered roadblocks to municipal broadband because communities can be considered “served” if any provider is present, regardless of what kind of Internet service is being offered. Rural communities are often left with very expensive fixed wireless or satellite services with low data caps, poor reliability, and slow speeds, and are unable to pursue municipal broadband because the community is considered “served.”
Another common barrier to municipal broadband is pricing. Some state laws mandate that any municipal broadband service must match prices with those of an incumbent ISP, thereby removing the opportunity for the municipal broadband network to introduce more competition into the local market.
Some laws require any municipal broadband system to be self-sustaining, limiting local authority to bundle services like voice and data, which is a common industry practice.
This brings me to a business use case, Create a Municipal Network Platform using LTE 4 and 5 to WIFI – then operate it for that City or Municipality, turn key. There are many more, but first, some links to support some of the ideation above.
So the big question here is what next? Here is a hint.
Wireless networks provide security for American Rural Workers
– The Gig economy In a post-pandemic world, many job seekers will look towards the gig economy for answers.
Gig economy statistics show a free market system where organizations and independent workers engage in short-term work arrangements.
Data suggest that in 2017 the US gig economy had 55 million participants. It’s estimated that 36% of US workers take part in the gig economy and 33% of companies extensively use gig workers.
The gig economy definition encompasses all sorts of contingent work arrangements, for example:
- Independent contractors and professionals
- Temps (temporary contract workers)
The gig economy is not a new phenomenon—freelancers have been around for a while. So have consultants, temps, and so on. The reason why the gig economy has been under scrutiny for the past couple of years is that technology has lowered barriers to entry so much that “gigs” have become easily accessible to an unprecedented number of people.
What was perceived as a side hustle only a couple of years ago, turned into a trillion-dollar industry with millions of participants. But all of this is lost, without broadband.
In this series we will cover a number of potential solutions, creating platforms in Rural America, that provide for education, employment, and recovery.
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“You Can’t Sail Today’s Boat on Yesterday’s Wind.”
– Michael Noel
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