Internet access is a must

Published 6:00 am Sunday, November 22, 2015

Today’s national holiday is Electronic Greetings Day. With the lost art of writing letters and sending cards, sending an electronic greeting has allowed people easy access to reach out to friends and family.

Everyone always enjoys receiving a card in the mail.  With today’s technology, the ease of sending a card electronically makes it easy to remember someone’s birthday, anniversary or other special event. Sending a greeting online depends on someone’s access to the online world.

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone today, and 19 percent of those people use the phone to access online services and for other information to keep them connected to the outside world. The reason for people using their phones for online information is that so many are lacking broadband at home.

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Smartphone owners use their phones to look up such things as an existing health condition. Other users use it for employment resources and also to find employment. For so many, it is their source to reach the outside world.

Many of us have used our smartphones for assistance in receiving directions. Recent surveys regarding smartphone users show that owners are dependent on these devices even though some are frustrated after mobile screen encounters.

Further research shows that 10 percent of Americans own a smartphone but have no additional access to high-speed Internet beyond what is offered on their phone.

Fifteen percent of Americans ages 18-29 depend on their phone for online access.

Thirteen percent of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are smartphone-dependent. Just 1 percent of Americans from households earning more than $75,000 depend on their smartphone for Internet access.

Ninety-nine percent of residents within the city limits of Oxford have access to two or more wired providers. On the other hand, fiber optic is available to just 1 percent of Lafayette County residents. Mississippi is the 41st most connected state in the United States.

Many residents of our community don’t remember but in 2012, Oxford became the state’s first to provide free public Wi-Fi, and it was on the Oxford Square, thanks to the law firm of Hughes Brown underwriting the cost of the service.

As progressive as our L-O-U community is, access to high-speed Internet is of upmost importance.