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Technology 24 May 2021

The Week in Internet News: Rural Areas Need Broadband to Attract Workers

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

Recruiting issue: Companies in some areas of the rural U.S. are trying to hire workers, but the lack of quality broadband service is hurting their efforts, the New York Times reports. The story looks at a manufacturer of asphalt paving equipment in rural Iowa that paid to have fiber laid to its factory, but there’s a lack of reliable broadband to the nearby community.

Slow service: In a related story, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and six states are suing Internet service provider Frontier Communications for not delivering the speeds it promised customers and charging them for better service than they actually got, the Associated Press reports at StarTribune.com. The case concerns DSL service, which is provided by Frontier to 1.3 million customers in 25 states, mostly in rural areas.

E-commerce not immune: E-commerce services in India spiked early in the COVID-19 pandemic, but they have dropped as a second wave of infections hits the country, The Economic Times says. Online shopping volumes dipped 11 percent in April from a month early, with consumer demand for non-essential items dropping.

Cyberattack pandemic: The pandemic also is linked to an increase in several types of cyberattacks according to Verizon’s new data breach report, detailed at CPO Magazine. Both phishing and ransomware incidents jumped significantly in 2020, although hackers seemed to focus more on “obtaining credentials for external cloud assets and email systems rather than the computers of remote workers.” Social engineering and basic web application attacks, meanwhile, caused the majority of data breaches, with 85 percent of these breaches attributed to a “human element.”

Exception to the rule: The military rulers in Myanmar have, at times, blocked Internet access for many people in the country since a coup in February, but they are allowing a limited number of people to connect, Newsweek reports. The military rules, called the Tatmadaw, said it is developing an “intranet” for inside the country that allows access to only approved applications.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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