According to Forbes, around 35% of the rural population is not digitally connected. Further research indicates that most people in about 62% of counties throughout the US are adversely affected by internet broadband download speeds lower than the minimum government standard. The good news is that this is changing. Various federal and state-funded initiatives have been enacted to address this inequality, ensuring effective connectivity for millions of Americans. So how does big data help ISPs to support this change?
Why is big data necessary for connectivity?
Put simply; big data is exactly what it says it is – it’s larger, more complex sets of data from a more significant variety of data sources. It works based on the principles of the three V’s: volume, velocity and variety – with volume referring to the vast amount of data that can be processed, velocity referring to the rate at which data is received, and sort in relation to the rich patchwork of data sources that feed into the big data whole. Types of data may include text, audio, and video, in addition to statistics, facts, and figures, all of which must be pre-processed to ensure they can fit neatly structured together in relational databases.
Changes in technology have enabled the advent of big data, with the development of new and innovative systems that can process vast quantities of information to address business problems that previously would have been much harder to solve. Communications, analysis, and value engineering are all areas that benefit when data is efficiently and accurately created, stored, and used collaboratively to provide relevant, effective, and time-efficient solutions and services. With an exponential reduction in data storage and computing costs and an increased volume of data now more accessible and less expensive, making decisions about how and where to focus business activity can be far more accurate and precise – and it’s all driven by effective connectivity.
How ISPs can help
With the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund introduction, the FCC provides an incentive for ISPs to expand their superfast broadband provision networks, installing connections in rural areas that currently have no connectivity or only limited connectivity available. Not only will big data help inform this activity, pinpointing priority areas for access and identifying the most cost-effective solutions, but it will benefit too, as more sources of information become available when additional people and systems can access the network. This increase in data provision can further inform the expansion of connectivity, resulting in a positive feedback loop that will drive future projects and infrastructure.
The cost of connectivity is essential too – if a connection is available, but it’s too expensive for people to afford, it is a worthless endeavor. ISPs can take advantage of the opportunity for combination provision, merging mobile access with fixed broadband to seamlessly merge distribution, allowing for cost-effective installation which integrates white-box hardware and open-source software alongside 4 or 5G technology. The cost reduction compared with completely fixed broadband provision can be passed on to customers, meaning lower package rates and more communities producing data.
The future of connectivity
The number of network-connected devices is increasing. With them, the requirement for adequate digital infrastructure enables access to a rapidly evolving network of products and services – providing an advanced ecosystem of wireless and wired technologies, all feeding into big data provision of the future. This translates to an increase in demand for connectivity, far more than current requirements, and suppliers that embrace the opportunities available to them now will find they are benefitted in terms of competitive advantage gained through innovation. ISPs can support the IoT network and build better business ecosystems, which will help both the local and national economy, adding to big data availability as they do.
With a dramatic acceleration in the available technology, the demand, and the data available, there’s no doubt that big data will be big business for ISPs in the coming years. With effective connectivity boosting community wellbeing, each of the four Vs, and the economy as a whole, it’s clear that investing in connectivity now will bring big rewards in the future for pretty much everyone.