What is Broadband?
Broadband is the mechanism for transmitting data quickly and efficiently. It provides businesses, schools, libraries, hospitals, and state agencies access to the internet to deliver health, education, public safety and social services throughout the state. In particular, it enables institutions, key stake holders, commercial business, and people in Nevada’s rural and remote areas to communicate, send and receive information that can keep them connected, closing the digital divide and increasing the same opportunities already in our more urban areas.
Why is it Important?
Better broadband means greater opportunities for Nevada. By leveraging today’s Internet, we now have greater opportunities to connect to educational and workforce development training resources, which means communities can foster more economic development, businesses can access new markets and create more jobs, and our schools, colleges, and universities can conduct digital and distance learning with ease, as well as develop and build an innovative and talented high-tech workforce. However, residents cannot fully participate in the digital economy without access to affordable broadband and the ability to use it.
Despite Nevada’s record of commitment to statewide broadband, there are still many areas that are underserved and unserved. We have a diverse state made up of both urban and rural areas. As outlined in the Broadband Strategic Plan, we are working to deploy broadband infrastructure and work with existing infrastructure to expand the reach and capability that currently is a challenge. We are working with providers for the adoption of affordable rates and to increase economic opportunities through broadband deployment.
This increased availability will give teachers more teaching and learning resources and will help hospitals and clinics increase their outreach to include tele-carts and increase their success to send and receive digital resources such as X-rays, MRI’s and other medical scans. Increased availability and connectivity enhances the ability to increase Telemedicine and Telepharmacy for our remote areas and Department of Corrections.
Overall, every key industry, anchor institution, key stakeholder, public safety and emergency services agency will benefit from increased broadband deployment and expanded infrastructure.
Access to broadband can have a significant impact on the delivery of education. Through increased access to computers and other internet connected devices in schools, and expanded access to distance education delivered via high-speed internet, both K-12 and postsecondary students in rural Nevada can have access to the same teachers and the same education as students in urban Las Vegas.
Broadband also offers the possibility of improving access to healthcare. Broadband has enabled doctors to reach patients through the use of “telemedicine” by enabling them to provide medical care to patient who either lack access to transportation, or who live in rural areas, or lack access to specialized care. Through broadband, doctors can now work with specialist located in more urban areas, share diagnostic data and test results through high-speed Internet services, thereby reducing the need of their patients to travel long distances or even leave their homes.
Since broadband allows for the nearly instantaneous communication of information and transmission of data, it has become an important component for economic growth and the delivery of critical services throughout the state, particularly in rural areas. The number of public and private users continues to increase and most businesses simply cannot operate or expand unless they have access to high-speed broadband and internet services. As the benefits of broadband services continue to expand and become increasingly essential to how we do business, its availability now determines where many businesses and institutions decide where to locate, and where individuals decide to live and play.