Unused TV frequencies are untapped resource for rural healthcare, says The App Association

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Telehealth has the potential to improve rural healthcare. However, without addressing geographic disparities in internet access, this potential will go unrealized, according to a blog post from The App Association.

The advocacy organization — which represents more than 5,000 app companies and IT firms — noted one member of its connected-health effort has seen improvements in diabetes management since implementing a telehealth pilot. The member, University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, provided 100 rural residents with wireless glucose monitors to manage diabetes treatment.

However, The App Association noted, "these telehealth benefits are only possible with meaningful solutions to rural broadband."

The organization recommended using TV "white spaces," or unused broadcasting frequencies on television networks. As TV viewership has declined across the nation, there has been a rise in available unlicensed spectrum bands that can be repurposed to deliver internet to remote, rural areas.

"Now, more than ever, it is time we use unlicensed spectrum in innovative ways to bring Americans the resources they truly need," The App Association wrote. "[W]ithout broadband, or the prospect of using unlicensed spectrum to bridge the digital divide, these innovative solutions are unavailable to the communities that need them most."

Click here to view the blog post.

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