How A Project To Get Humans To Mars Could Solve The Rural Internet Problem – NPR

How A Project To Get Humans To Mars Could Solve The Rural Internet Problem – NPR

Parts of rural America still lack access to broadband internet. But new satellite internet technology, developed by Elon Musk’s companies, may change the game for rural residents.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Nearly 11% of U.S. households still don’t have high-speed Internet access, but a new convoy of low-flying satellites could beam broadband to hard-to-reach places across the country later this year. It’s a project that actually is a fundraiser for launching humans to Mars. High Plains Public Radio’s David Condos reports from Great Bend, Kan.

DAVID CONDOS, BYLINE: Joey Bahr walks out to the front of his yard along a two-lane road lined with farmland.

JOEY BAHR: So in the ditch that we’re standing in right now, there is a fiber optic cable that runs from here all the way probably up to Albert five miles north of here. I can’t access it.

CONDOS: That cable running beneath his feet is owned by a neighboring Internet service provider and is just passing through on its way to a nearby town. So instead of tapping into the wired broadband that much of America takes for granted, Bahr, his wife Anita and their three sons connect their home to the Internet through a
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