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Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Shinigami » Thu Mar 03, 2011 4:13 am

Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet access
by: Josh Weinhold
Posted: 2/28/2011 12:34:00 AM

Internet connections in Elkhart County may not be spending much time in the fast lane, according to a new government survey. But they aren't necessarily inching along the side of the road, either.

The National Broadband Map, an interactive online statistical database released earlier this month by two federal agencies in conjunction with state governments, showed Elkhart County and Indiana being outpaced by much of the country when it comes to high-speed Internet access.

Survey data ranked the Elkhart/Goshen metropolitan statistical area (which falls directly along Elkhart County lines) 310th out of 370 for accessibility to a standard high-speed Internet connection.

That low ranking, though, can be deceiving. More than 92 percent of Elkhart County residents can access Internet with downloads greater than 3 megabytes per second and uploads greater than .768 mbps, but that number ranked it low on the national list.

The county, though, placed ahead of several other Indiana metro areas -- including Anderson, Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Bloomington, Terre Haute and Louisville, Ky.

"All things considered, I would say the county is not as bad off as it could be," said Michael Sherer, director of information technology at Goshen College. "But we're also not as competitive as we could be."

While a large percentage of the population can access Internet speeds allowing them to download an mp3 song in about 5 seconds, finding faster connections is difficult. According to the NBM study, only 90 percent of the county has access to service with a max speed of 10 mbps and no service provider offers a connection with a 25 mbps max speed.

Internet connection speed tests placed much of Elkhart County near the 25th percentile nationally, with home, medium/large businesses and small businesses all ranking near the bottom when it came to average connection speed.

There was one category locally, though, that ranked very high -- schools, libraries and community centers. That segment's connection speed was near the 75th percentile nationally.

Sherer has an explanation for that. Goshen College is a part of the I-LIght network, a collaboration between Indiana colleges and the state government. That high-speed Internet initiative has the college tapped into a 1 gigabit per second connection, allowing all web operations on campus to happen at lightning-fast speeds -- about 500 times faster than an average home connection.

Goshen College is in a great position when it comes to high-speed access, he said, but that's not the case for the rest of the county. At home, Sherer has a 20 mbps connection through cable company Comcast, but speeds like that aren't offered by many other local providers.

"If you've got a cable connection, you're in good shape," he said. "If you don't have a cable connection, you're marginal."

Part of the problem, he said, is the type of business that's being done in Elkhart County. Manufacturing operations and smaller, entreprenuer-launched businesses haven't needed the blazing-speed connection of larger metropolitan areas.

St. Joseph County, meanwhile, has sizable entities in need of high-speed access, he said, and a fiber optic network backbone in that community has positioned them well for the future.

"Travel the back roads of Elkhart County, and you'll find one farm after another," Sherer said. "The kind of networking that's really required to support commerce in this county is a little difference."

The NBM study ranked the South Bend/Mishawaka metro area 247th nationally for access to basic high-speed connections, with 97.9 percent of residents able to obtain it.

The map was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission. First published Feb. 17, the data will be updated every six months.

Ryan Hochstetler, president of the Goshen-based web design and development company LightSky, said he hasn't had much difficulty finding a high-speed provider that will meet the needs of his business. Throughout Elkhart County, though, the story may be different.

"There are a lot of different providers, especially on the business end of things," he said. "On the home side, it seems like there's fewer options."

The area may just have to take a wait-and-see approach, he said, as technology continues to develop and expand to new areas. Fiber optic connections in the county would go a long way to improving access, but those aren't easy to come by.

"A lot of that comes down to the cost of getting those implemented in the level of populations that are needed to support it," Hochstetler said. "Because it is a large investment for them to make those upgrades."

BY THE NUMBERS

* The Elkhart/Goshen metropolitan statistical area ranked 310th out of 370 counties for access to Internet with downloads greater than 3 megabytes per second and uploads greater than .768 megabytes per second. About 92 percent of the population can obtain such service.

* Ranked 77th for access to more than four Internet service providers, with 99.4 percent of residents having such options available.

* One of only 39 metro areas with 100 percent of the population able to access a wireless service provider

* Indiana ranked 50th, behind the District of Columbia and ahead of only Wyoming, on access to high-speed connections. Just 71.6 percent of residents are able to access service of 3 mbps downloads and .768 mbps uploads.


Source: E-Truth.com

National Broadband Map

Well you have to understand this study is about broadband penetration and speed, I have have been complaining about broadband speeds for years.
See Speed Matters November 2010 Study.
SpeedMatters.org
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Happy Mom » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:28 am

Does not surprise me in the least... :roll: :techie-typing: :techie-hourglass: :sleeping-sleeping:
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Bear » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:34 pm

Happy Mom wrote:Does not surprise me in the least... :roll: :techie-typing: :techie-hourglass: :sleeping-sleeping:


I second that. A guy I worked with as long ago as 2005, who had just moved up here from Florida, was complaining to me all the time about how horrible the internet service was in this area. I guess it is not just South Bend though, but all of Indiana.
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby backstagedee » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:40 pm

The cable connection at home is fine for me, and our DSL at BSG is adequate but my service on the West side of Elkhart County is terrible. I have been through 5 providers in 7 years and cable is not available in our industrial park. With our big art files and online catalog we often run into issues.
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Bear » Thu Mar 03, 2011 3:57 pm

What we consider "good" in Northern Indiana, is like dial-up in most other states, according to some of the upload/download speeds I've seen in places like Florida.
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby bob_rx2000 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:26 pm

Lets see... Empirical evidence suggests that we have very poor Internet connection speeds here. Observation and statistics also indicate we have little to no job growth in this area. Do you suppose that the willingness of large telecommunications providers to invest in this area is directly tied to the growth of the area? I wonder?
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Bear » Fri Mar 04, 2011 10:26 am

bob_rx2000 wrote:Lets see... Empirical evidence suggests that we have very poor Internet connection speeds here. Observation and statistics also indicate we have little to no job growth in this area. Do you suppose that the willingness of large telecommunications providers to invest in this area is directly tied to the growth of the area? I wonder?


You are correct, it does require a large investment by a communications corporation to increase broadband availability AND quality in a State. And if there are no incentives for a company to do that, then why would they?
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Shinigami » Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:12 am

Bear wrote:
bob_rx2000 wrote:Lets see... Empirical evidence suggests that we have very poor Internet connection speeds here. Observation and statistics also indicate we have little to no job growth in this area. Do you suppose that the willingness of large telecommunications providers to invest in this area is directly tied to the growth of the area? I wonder?


You are correct, it does require a large investment by a communications corporation to increase broadband availability AND quality in a State. And if there are no incentives for a company to do that, then why would they?


Just like North Carolina, the only way it will happen is because of competition. Without competition, nothing changes.
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Re: Indiana ranks 50th in the nation in high-speed Internet

Postby Bear » Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:36 am

Ironically, this article was sent out several weeks ago, but because of our slow broadband, I'm just now receiving it. :twisted: :P
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