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The “Digital Divide” is growing between urban and rural America.

Fast internet is now a need, not a luxury, and 5G wireless internet could be the bridge that closes the Digital Divide.

5G wireless internet opens up a new range of possibilities for all America.

What is 5G?

5G allows for many upgrades over 4G. 5G allows faster connections, support more devices, and will allow you to do more than you ever have before with your phone or other wireless device.

How fast will 5G be?  5G will be 10 to 100 times speedier than 4G, and even faster than anything you can get with a physical fiber-optic cable going into your house or business.

5G is not just about speed, but, just as important, low latency.

What is latency? The best way to define it is the response time between when you click to download data, when the network responds. Presently with 4G, there can be a certain lag time for data to download, but with 5G it will be almost instant.

5G’s impact on latency within the wireless network will also allow new technologies to emerge.

Lastly, 5G is designed with the ability to connect a far greater number of devices than current 4G networks. How is this a benefit? Well, 5G can handle equipment associated with day-to-day business, ranging from those used on a farm, hospital, school or business.

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WSJ Spotlights Vertical Consultants - Calls President Hugh Odom the "Property Deal Maker" in its People of 5G Feature

In the article, Hugh explains how one-sided cell tower leases can be. "5G increases revenues for telecom companies. We just want to see some that flow down to our client."

5G’s Impact on Economic Growth

The typical belief that most residents of rural America are work in agriculture industry is wrong

A recent study found that under 5% of the rural workforce is employed in agriculture and only around 15% in manufacturing, while the majority work in small local businesses. In fact, small businesses are a more important economic force in rural areas than in cities.

However rural America is 10 times more likely to have substandard internet access compared to urban areas equalling up to 42 million Americans being underserved.

Roughly six-in-ten rural Americans (58%) believe access to high-speed internet is a problem in their area

The lack of fast reliable internet access handicaps rural America’s economic growth in a multitude of ways.

First, certain business can’t or won’t move to rural areas because they can’t get the internet connectivity they need. Recently, COVID-19 has force many rural companies to sent employees home to work and found it was impossible for them to work remotely because they didn’t have home internet connectivity.

The best paying jobs are going to be linked to the digital economy. In theory, remote working should open these positions to anyone, anywhere but rural American’s options are limited due to the digital divide.

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5G’s Impact On Education

Poor internet is also holding back rural education. Lack of access to the internet for research and an inability to develop internet skills are problems that impact rural students to high degree. COVID-19 has forced children to study but in rural areas with scarce coverage.

The use of 5G will allow students immediate access to educational content without the common hindrances of Wi-Fi connectivity. The students will be able to technologies that 5G powers which will result in an improved range and quality of educational activities and teaching methods

5G’s Impact of Healthcare

Rural populations on average older and less healthy, and as rural healthcare services are is less available compared to those residing in urban areas. As a result, the need for telehealth access is even more vital. close. However, most rural residents lack of connectivity means they can’t use telehealth, video chat with medical professionals, health monitoring devices, online health portals, etc.

With enhanced 5G, healthcare systems can enable mobile networks to handle patient’s telemedicine healthcare virtual appointments and can greatly increase the reach of telemedicine in rural areas.

5G’s Impact on Agriculture

Even agriculture is impacted by the lack of fast and reliable internet services. Advanced agro-tech, like smart sensors that monitor pests, fungal and bacterial infections; weather monitors; and smart irrigation systems rely high speed internet to be effective.

Planting and harvesting is very, very time critical in order to optimize that crop output and with access to advance agricultural equipment rural residents can be more efficient, productive and profitable when it comes to their crop yields.

How 5G Can Close The Digital Divide

The issue with internet connectivity in rural America has a lot to do with the cost of rolling out fiber-optic cable which carries broadband internet. While wireless coverage has improved over the years, 4G still has a limited range in sparsely-populated areas with cell towers being few and far in between.

5G can be the answer to closing a lot of the digital divide that exists today and result in a big impact to farming, healthcare, education and overall economic growth of rural towns across the United States.

5G can help rural communities gain internet coverage because it uses more of the radio spectrum than 4G. Rural areas can immediately take advantage of low-band 5G, which can connect to towers hundreds of miles away, extend coverage to millions who couldn’t tap in to 4G networks, and still move data several times faster than 4G.

Ultimately, local governments should be eager to find ways to invest in 5G for the sake of the rural economy, and rural residents looking for high-speed, reliable internet service.

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