Who is taking advantage of online sharing economy? And how?

The NTIA recently released info from a recent survey on who is participating in the sharing economy…

In our most recent Internet Use Survey, conducted in 2017, NTIA included questions about participation in the sharing economy for the first time. The results show that a third of Internet users in the U.S. reported selling goods or requesting or offering services from others through online platforms. This compares with the significant majority of Internet users – 69 percent – who reported using the Internet for more traditional e-commerce activities such as online shopping or travel reservations.

Sharing economy participants tend to be younger, have higher incomes and education levels, and live in metropolitan areas, our data reveal.

It turns out the biggest gap in use was between rural and urban users…

The difference between rural and urban participation was most pronounced in how consumers use peer-to-peer services. People living in rural areas are more like to sell goods online than request services. The data show there is a 64 percent difference between metropolitan and non-metropolitan Internet users when it comes to requesting services, while only a 15 percent difference for selling goods online.

If I had to guess, I’d say the absence of Uber/Lyft type services in many rural areas might explain some of that difference.

Democratic candidates question Trumps success bridging rural digital divide

Politico reports…

Democrats are offering President Donald Trump’s rural supporters a reason to turn against him in 2020 — his failure to bring them the high-speed internet he promised.

Several presidential candidates including Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have rolled out proposals for tens of billions in new federal dollars to bring fast broadband service to rural America, with Warren’s $85 billion plan leading the spending pack.

They call broadband yet another example of Trump letting down people who helped send him to the White House in 2016, including people in the same farm-heavy states suffering from the president’s trade wars. Trump’s challengers also say the slow internet speeds that prevail in much of the nation are a drag on the economy and a threat to U.S. competitiveness.

“I see that the country of Iceland has all hooked up, and we’re not,” Democratic hopeful Amy Klobuchar told POLITICO when asked about Trump’s record. The Minnesota senator pledges to connect all U.S. households to broadband by 2022.

More national broadband views from candidates

Roll Call reports on Democratic candidates’ appeal to rural voters, including their views on broadband…

The proposals go well beyond traditional farm programs. Gillibrand, Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren are all proposing new investments in rural health care and improving access to broadband internet.

Klobuchar’s campaign has made “a commitment to connect every household in America to the internet by 2022,” and Warren proposes a new “public option” for broadband service.

Warren wants federal preemption of state laws that may limit the ability of municipal governments to run their own broadband networks for their businesses and residents.

“I will make sure every home in America has a fiber broadband connection at a price families can afford. That means publicly owned and operated networks — and no g

iant ISPs running away with taxpayer dollars,” the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Gillibrand is proposing a $60 billion investment in rural broadband.

EVENT ALERT Jul 31: House Agriculture Committee Rural Broadband Day of Action

On Thursday, the FCC will consider proposals to improve broadband mapping and reform the commission’s rural health care program. To help them get thinking, the House Agriculture Committee will host Rural Broadband Day 2019 ­tomorrow. It will be a day to bring increased visibility to issues surrounding rural broadband, poor FCC mapping, and service availability.

Members of the House Agriculture Committee will use this day to highlight the impact rural broadband has on their districts and constituents, engaging with local government officials and stakeholders to examine the benefits of improved access to affordable, fast, and expanded broadband internet connectivity.

They are inviting people will rural broadband stories to join the conversation by using the hashtag #RuralBroadbandDay across social media platforms when they share stories.

You can follow @HouseAgDems on Twitter or #RuralBroadbandDay to see what’s happening.

Public complaints on USDA’s Rural broadband plan

Investigate Midwest reports on public comment to proposed federal investment in rural broadband. The quick take on the action (or proposed action) in question: in January 2017, the President promised better broadband for rural areas. Following the promise, U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed the Rural Broadband Pilot Program. There was a budget (in 2018) of $600 million and a proposed budget in 2019 of $425 million BUT the Office of Management and Budget called out that amount given, the 2018 funds hadn’t been used.

That’s a very quick take because the real story is the comments on the action and proposed action. Investigate Midwest reports…

While nearly all the comments were in favor of the Rural Utilities Service’s efforts to expand broad internet, there were 3,659 references to the idea that the pilot program’s standards for speed were either not fast enough, they were focused on speed but not bandwidth, or the speed at which technology is advancing would leave those speeds obsolete in just a few years.

There were a few categories of complaints

  • Inadequate speed goals
  • Eligibility for funding (unserved vs served)
  • Accuracy of broadband maps
  • Cost

It sounds a lot like what I hear in Minnesota. One quick number I picked up in the article…

Rural Americans can pay as much as $155/month for service slower than the Federal Communications Commission classifies as “high speed internet.”

I have heard of people paying more – especially when they end up using a mobile hotspot for coverage. (Right now I have a college kid using a mobile hotspot for her broadband; I cringe with each text telling me about the $5 surcharge for additional coverage.)

US House Ag meeting on broadband Archive – rural areas need gig access

Earlier today the Subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit (Committee on Agriculture) met to hear about: “Building Opportunity in Rural America through Affordable, Reliable and High-Speed Broadband“. I’m pleased to report that two Minnesotans were there to tell the story in our state – Neela Mollgaard at Red Wing Ignite and Dave Hengel at Greater Bemidji.

All of the speakers shed a light on what better broadband and supporting locals to better use that broadband make a difference in a rural community.

Here’s the meeting:

And access to Dave and Neela’s written testimony.

[Update July 15, 2019]

House Agriculture Subcommittee on Broadband July 11 in DC

The House Agriculture Committee is having a Subcommittee hearing this Thursday, July 11th on rural broadband: “Building Opportunity in Rural America through Affordable, Reliable and High-Speed Broadband.” Looks like the meeting starts at 9am (MN time) and there’s a link for the livestream

Thursday, July 11, 2019 – 10:00AM

1300 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C.

Commodity Exchanges, Energy, and Credit Subcommittee Hearing

RE: “Building Opportunity in Rural America through Affordable, Reliable and High-Speed Broadband”