Tech Makes a Big Difference In Small Communities
When small and remote communities have access to the same technology as big cities, it can be life-changing. For spread out areas across the nation, reliable cell service means staying connected to family, accessing health care and taking advantage of job and educational opportunities that help level the playing field for small businesses.
Overcoming the urban-rural digital divide
The digital divide between small towns and urban or suburban areas is pronounced. Fewer than two-thirds of people in rural communities report having broadband internet access at home, compared to 79% of suburban respondents.1 For families living in those towns, limited access to digital resources can be a real challenge. Some must plan their days around where they can get reliable cell service. Others have to travel long distances to use the Internet at the nearest library.
Improving health care & quality of life
Remote access to health care services makes a huge difference in small communities, where local resources can be limited or hospitals and doctors’ offices are located miles away. Advancements in telehealth, which connects patients to doctors and medical advice via mobile technology, allow rural families to receive diagnoses, advice, therapy and more without leaving the comfort of their home. They can even access health care experts and specialists who might otherwise be too far away to help.
Today, most educational and career opportunities can be found online. For many rural Americans, access to those opportunities is limited by spotty service and slow download speeds. Reliable service is a lifeline in small communities, particularly for K-12 students, college applicants and job seekers. Technologies that make it possible for kids to do online research or for parents to telecommute can help rural families balance work, education and home life.
Keeping you connected
From keeping in touch with loved ones to healthcare to online shopping to mobile banking to running a small business and more, digital technology is more than just a convenience. It’s an essential point of connection with the rest of the world. For small communities that currently go without it, that connection is the key to keeping up with bigger cities.
- Perrin, Andrew. “Digital Gap between Rural and Nonrural America Persists.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 31 May 2019, www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/05/31/digital-gap-between-rural-and-nonrural-america-persists/.