Digital Properties Manager
Loudoun County is the “home of the Internet,” and is now also an epicenter of high-speed Internet use.
According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, Loudoun has the highest percentage of households with a fixed broadband (not mobile) Internet subscription in Virginia. In fact, Loudoun’s 93 percent figure trails only Douglas County, Colo., (which is at 94.6 percent) for the highest broadband Internet access in the U.S.
Broadband Internet is defined by the Federal Communications Commission as “high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access.” High speed is defined as at least 25 megabits download and 3 megabits upload and can be achieved by fiber, cable modem, satellite, wireless, DSL or BPL.
Access to broadband is crucial in the modern economy, helping to close the gaps in economic opportunity, educational achievement and health outcomes.
Broadband access has real-world impact on jobs. According to the FCC, 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including those in the D.C. metro region, only post job openings online, and require online applications. Broadband also allows entrepreneurs to start businesses at home, and enables telecommuters to work for companies anywhere around the world.
A 2008 study showed that students with access to a computer and the Internet at home were more likely to graduate from high school. Home Internet access gives Loudoun students resources to do research and use homework apps from home.
As for quality-of-life, Loudoun adults and students with broadband access can take advantage of next-wave Internet-enabled devices and streaming technology. In terms of health, various studies have shown that Internet access can reduce depression among the elderly by as much as 20 percent. It’s also been shown to help reduce truancy and crime, and even keep people more committed to their jobs.
Loudoun’s 93 percent subscription access rate is significantly higher than Virginia’s 80 percent overall rate, which is tied for 14th among states. The FCC estimates that approximately 19 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband service, while more than 100 million have broadband services available to them but choose not to subscribe.
Here in Loudoun, more than a dozen service providers offer residents wired, wireless, satellite and DSL connection to the Internet, and the government and business community continue to explore options to reach 100 percent of Loudoun residents.