Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version



Cornhusker Economics (May 2011)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2011] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


Broadband is transforming the economy and society. Businesses are using telecommunications to speed up transactions, reduce costs and expand their markets. New technologies such as cloud computing are allowing businesses to further reduce costs, and increase flexibility and mobility. Students at all levels are taking courses via distance learning technologies. eHealth technologies are making complete patient information available at the point of care, eliminating the need to run redundant tests and reducing the risk of dangerous drug interactions. Broadband technologies are also opening significant opportunities for the agricultural sector to increase accuracy of production and profits, and stay abreast of changes in the financial/commodity markets.

As more services, such as applying for jobs and registering for classes are being offered using high speed internet, the digital divide increases when individuals and businesses do not adopt and utilize technology, by choice or availability. On May 20, 2011 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the Seventh Broadband Progress Report and Order on Reconsideration. The report finds that 26 million Americans are unserved by broadband today, and at least one-third of Americans do not subscribe to high-speed Internet service. FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps stated, “Every day, broadband becomes more central to the economic and civic life of our nation. Access denied is opportunity denied – we simply cannot afford to have millions of our fellow citizens on the wrong side of a digital divide.”