Web

The FCC says that American Internet access still really stinks

Broadband speeds
If you’ve complained about your Internet access or speeds in the United States this past year, you’re not alone — the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agrees with you, and just failed the country on its annual deployment test. Earlier this week, the FCC determined that 34 million Americans, or around 10 percent of the nation, “still lack access to fixed broadband at the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25Mbps for downloads, 3Mbps for uploads.” And that really, really sucks.

The issue at hand isn’t that 10 percent of Americans simply can’t afford broadband connections that the Commission would consider up to par. Rather, the FCC’s displeasure stems from the fact that 1 in every 10 Americans are effectively being denied the benchmark speed. Providers are simply unwilling or unable to serve a considerable proportion of homes with adequate broadband speeds.

According to the FCC’s recently released fact sheet, the disparity between haves and have-nots in terms of Internet is particularly pronounced when it comes to geography. The Commission cited a “persistent urban-rural divide” that has left “39 percent of the rural population without access to fixed broadband.” Only 4 percent of those in urban environments, on the other hand, are in the same position.

Moreover, a stunning 41 percent of Tribal Lands residents do not have access to appropriate speeds, and the same percentage of schools “have not met the Commission’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff.” This means that nearly half of American students are not able to access fast Internet on campus.

All this to say that when compared with our international peers, the U.S. is falling seriously behind. In fact, we rank just 16th out of 34 countries surveyed.

But in spite of all these rather depressing statistics, not all hope is lost. Just three years ago, one in every five Americans “could not buy 25Mbps/3Mbps broadband.” But that number has steadily declined — in 2013, it was 17 percent, and last year, it was just 10 percent. Figures for 2015 have yet to be released, but based on historical trends, they should continue to fall.

Still, the push for better Internet is becoming an issue of national priority. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has proposed a $275 billion “infrastructure” plan that aims to provide faster broadband connection to millions of Americans, and a slew of tech companies are now in competition to see who can provide the quickest connections. And when those companies compete, consumers generally win.

So come on, American Internet providers. You’ve really gotta step up your game.

Web

Google Translate updated to reduce gender bias in its translations

Google is changing how Google Translate offers translations. Previously when you entered a word like doctor, Translate would offer a masculine interpretation of the word. Now, Translate will offer both masculine and feminine versions.
Movies & TV

Do you have questions about Hulu? We’ve got answers

Not sure which Hulu subscription is right for you? We're here to help. This is your complete guide to Hulu and Hulu with Live TV, including content offerings for each service, pricing, internet requirements, and more.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.
Computing

From beautiful to downright weird, check out these great dual monitor wallpapers

Multitasking with two monitors doesn't necessarily mean you need to split your screens with two separate wallpapers. From beautiful to downright weird, here are our top sites for finding the best dual monitor wallpapers for you.
Web

Encryption-busting law passed in Australia may have global privacy implications

Controversial laws have been passed in Australia which oblige tech companies to allow the police to access encrypted messages, undermining the privacy of encryption with potentially global effects.
Web

Can Microsoft’s Airband Initiative close broadband gap for 25M Americans?

A new report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says that 25 million Americans do not have access to broadband internet. Of these, more than 19 million are living in rural communities. Can Microsoft help out?
Computing

Microsoft’s Chromium Edge browser may be adding your Chrome extensions

Fans sticking to Google Chrome because due to its vast extension library might be able to switch over to Microsoft's latest iteration of Edge, as a project manager confirms that the company has its eyes on Chrome extensions.
Computing

If you've lost a software key, these handy tools can find it for you

Missing product keys getting you down? We've chosen some of the best software license and product key finders in existence, so you can locate and document your precious keys on your Windows or MacOS machine.
Computing

Google+ continues to sink with a second massive data breach. Abandon ship now

Google+ was scheduled to shut its doors in August 2019, but the second security breach in only a few months has caused the company to move its plan forward a few months. It might be a good idea to delete your account sooner than later.
Social Media

‘YouTube Rewind 2018’ is about to become its most disliked video ever

YouTube is about to achieve a record it really doesn't want — that of "most-disliked video." Yes, its annual recap of featuring popular YouTubers has gone down really badly this year.
Computing

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.
Mobile

5G: Why everything is about to change

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.