Commitment to Ubiquitous Internet: Educational, Employment and Healthcare Equalizer


In “Exploring the Digital Nation: America’s Emerging Online Experience,” researchers and policymakers recognize that the availability and use of high-speed Internet services is key to economic growth. The 2013 report indicates that United States has made significant progress toward ubiquitous broadband access. Specifically, “The Internet has rapidly grown from an academic network into a resource that is now integral to the lives of most Americans.”

Here are some of the findings:

  • More than 93% of the U.S. population lives in areas offering wired broadband service.
  • Approximately 98% have access to either wired or wireless connectivity at speeds of at least 3 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload
  • By 2011, 69% had online speeds greater than dial-up, which was up from 4% in 2000.

Nonetheless, as this report concluded: “we have more work to do.”

Value of Digital Access

Universal Internet use in the United States has remained a national policy objective. Equal access to online information is simply a right that every citizen deserves. According to “Exploring the Digital Nation,” academic studies have identified multiple benefits of Internet use including:

  • Increased employment and income
  • Enhanced consumer welfare
  • Greater civic engagement
  • Reduced damage to the environment
  • Improved access to health information

Particularly, “In making information exchange simple, fast, and constant, the Internet enables users to lead lives that are more informed, efficient, and fulfilling.”

Societal Benefits

The study results suggest that Internet access can benefit society in the following ways:

  • Increased employment
  • Improved public health
  • More active citizenship

Employed Americans were more likely to go online than their peers who were not working. Among the nationwide population ages 25 and older, the following were Internet users in July 2011:

  • 81% of employed persons
  • 73% of the unemployed
  • 53% of those persons not in the labor force

Searching for jobs online was most frequent among Internet users who were actively seeking employment. Internet-based job training was somewhat more common among those who were currently working. Here were the specific findings:

  • 28% of employed Internet users reported going online for job training or courses
  • 25% of their unemployed counterparts participated in this activity
  • 21% of underemployed Internet users were less likely to participate in job training

Healthcare Advantages

Besides helping Americans with their careers, the Internet may also improve healthcare options. The study identified the following users doing online health plan and practitioner research:

  • 37% of Internet users between ages 25 and 44
  • 35% of those between 45 and 64
  • 29% of those users ages 65 and older

According to this report, “Internet users also went online to find health information for self-diagnosis or treatment, with 42 percent of users engaging in this activity. While finding medical information online is no substitute for consulting a trained medical professional, reputable online sources may complement traditional healthcare services by assisting Americans in properly treating minor ailments and determining when to seek professional medical attention.”

More Information About Wired and Wireless Services

Would you like additional details about reliable wired and wireless services at your educational, healthcare, assisted living or other facility? Safety NetAccess is committed to making the Internet available for all current and prospective students, employees, customers, patients, visitors and more. Contact us!