Residents in the farthest reaches of Hot Spring County will soon boast better broadband service than many urban communities in Arkansas, thanks to the hard work of rural telecommunication service providers in the area, in conjunction with state and federal funds allotted to them for the purpose of expanding broadband to the most rural and under-serviced parts of the county.

Access to broadband remains a critical issue in rural America, and Arkansas is near the bottom of the bunch in terms of availability. Reports vary greatly, but the Federal Communications Commission estimates about 14.5 million people in this country currently have no access to fixed broadband at the standard download/upload speeds of 25 mbps/3mbps.

The Biden administration claims 30 million is the more accurate number of people without adequate broadband service, but a recent report from BroadbandNow Research puts that number closer to 42 million. Still another report based on internal data from Microsoft estimates  that number to be about 120 million.

For the entire article, pick up the Tues., Jan. 11 edition of the Malvern Daily Record or subscribe to our online e-edition.

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