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More Americans are using wireless technology to connect to the internet at broadband speeds. However, most home internet connections still rely on buried cables. But moving forward, wireless seems to be the technology service providers and consumers are most excited about. This according to The State of the Internet in 2020 report from HighSpeedInternet.com. And more broadband access means more opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country.
The pandemic showed just how important internet connectivity is. Not for a single group, business, or industry, but for everyone. And for small businesses with limited resources, it is even more important. Wireless broadband access means a small business can allow its workers to work remotely, take orders for pickup or delivery online easily, chat on video to answer customer requests and much more.
The key is making reliable broadband technology available to all regions of the country so individuals and businesses can thrive together. The fact that people and businesses within a couple of miles of each other have disparate technologies is no longer a working model moving forward. Think of what you’d be able to do with improved internet service that you couldn’t do at slower speeds.
Wireless Technology Connecting More Americans to Broadband
Broadband is a catalyst for small business growth because it drives innovation and job creation. According to the SBA, it is essential for:
- Achieving strategic goals
- Improving competitiveness
- Improve efficiency
- Reach more customers
- Interact with vendors
Beyond these capabilities the one other thing broadband provides is opportunities. As a small business, you can operate a global enterprise using your broadband connection in your home office or small business in a small town. And the good news is wireless technology is connecting more Americans to broadband.
The report says there are gaps in availability and affordability across the US. But it goes on to say, improvements in technology and internet infrastructure can help bridge the gap. And wireless appears to be the technology companies are experimenting with to deliver broadband.
- 5G – The fifth generation of cellular data service
- LEO satellite – Low Earth Orbit satellite internet (Elon Musk’s Starlink)
- 4G – The fourth generation of cellular data service
- Fixed-wireless – Uses close by cell towers with a home transceiver to provide connectivity
The good news is these are technologies that are deployed, and they are already in service or running in tests. The technology already running and offering great promise is 5G, which is delivering blazing speeds in locations with the right infrastructure. The 4G infrastructure has been deployed and it is a proven wireless platform for delivering broadband speeds.
Fixed wireless also uses cell towers to provide broadband services in rural areas or places without cable services. This service requires a line of site to the cell tower to work. But with a range of up to 10 miles, there are great opportunities.
Starlink has great ambitions. But once all the LEO satellites are launched (30K or more), broadband internet service will be ubiquitous globally. As of right now, Starlink is running its “Better than Nothing Beta” test in Maine, Montana, North Dakota, and Washington with the more than 835 satellites it has in orbit.
What are Customers Willing to Pay?
The average cost for new internet plans in the U.S. is $48.25 per month, but people are reporting they spend an average of $80 per month. Yet, they consider $20–$50 per month for internet to be a reasonable amount. So, it is not surprising when 61% of Americans think their internet service is overpriced.
And the price is not going to go down anytime soon. As more people rely on internet service and providers are aware of this fact, expect to pay more with each passing year. But then again, once the technology Elon Musk is deploying goes fully online, it can keep the price from going out of control or even lower it for the industry.
This article, “Wireless Internet Connecting More Americans to Broadband in 2020” was first published on Small Business Trends