Broadband Service In Rural America Needs Lots of Work

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If you take a look at the Commerce Department’s National Broadband Service map, you’ll see that a lot of America still doesn’t have a broadband Internet connection. It might look like sparsely populated areas, but in reality 28 percent of Americans don’t use the Internet, according to the NY Times. A lot of times, as the article explains, it’s not for lack of want: These people simply don’t have access.

Only 68 percent of Americans have access to broadband, according to a survey of 54,000 completed by the Commerce Department. Some people in Thomasville, Ala. have had to resort to driving to their local library’s parking lot to get a wireless signal. (The librarian took pity on them and now leaves the router on all night. If you need the password, it’s posted on the library door.)

In President Obama’s State of the Union, he promised that 98 percent of Americans will will get wireless Internet in the next five years. This map shows how important that goal really is. With no way to go to school remotely, find out if there’s a disaster in the area immediately or even chat with a customer service representative, Americans without Web access are at a disadvantage. Even though chances are most of these people just want to be able to have a Facebook account and watch YouTube videos, they still deserve the right to be connected to the rest of the world.

More on TIME.com:

Obama’s Tech Tour to Cover San Francisco, Intel’s Oregon Digs

U.S. Tries To Improve Relations With Iranians With Farsi Twitter Feed

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