The Broadband Report
The latest from the team at Broadband Now

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After $3.3B Spent, more than 39 Million Americans Still Only Have Access to 1 Wired Broadband Provider

In 2010, the FCC reported to Congress that “broadband is not being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” [1][2]

Since that time, the US Government has spent over $3.3B on broadband infrastructure grants via the BTOP program managed by the NTIA.

According the the NTIA website, these grants were designed to “Expand broadband access and adoption in communities across America.” [3]

Yet as of the 2013 over 39 Million Americans (12.1% of the population) only have access to 0 or 1 broadband providers, leaving these consumers without a competitive market and no alternative provider to switch to if they are dissatisfied.[4]

March 2015 Update: In a report published by the FCC after this article was written, it states “Recent data show that approximately 55 million Americans (17 percent) live in areas unserved by fixed 25 Mbps/3 Mbps broadband or higher service” which is worse than the data below displays.

You can read the FCC’s full 2015 report to congress here.

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The Most underserved states in the USA

Below is a breakdown of the underserved populations in each state along with the amount of money each state received in federal infrastructure grants.

States with the largest populations underserved, the percentage of that state underserved, and the amount of money received via broadband infrastructure grants from the BTOP program.
RankStateUnderserved Population % of Population UnderservedInfrastructure Grants
1Texas4,388,54616.52%$67,698,503
2California2,779,5197.24%$350,064,330
3Missouri1,489,63124.41%$71,745,250
4Oklahoma1,265,13632.8%$83,470,346
5Alabama1,248,80825.58%$91,596,026
6Ohio1,237,54110.67%$141,300,142
7Georgia1,235,72912.19%$69,687,765
8Wisconsin1,213,77220.98%$57,969,654
9Virginia1,207,87514.56%$92,995,941
10South Carolina1,104,93922.95%$9,604,840
11Illinois1,096,2788.45%$173,923,501
12Michigan1,078,43110.93%$108,574,985
13Florida1,046,3215.32%$55,902,591
14Tennessee1,031,11615.74%$15,865,636
15North Carolina995,7269.97%$120,685,297
16Louisiana907,69919.79%$89,759,799
17Minnesota890,08516.41%$36,200,630
18New York808,5984.13%$38,938,988
19Arizona803,31511.89%$71,464,944
20Arkansas797,68426.65%$102,131,393
21Kentucky714,05316.09%$535,308
22Mississippi710,60423.63%$102,364,489
23Indiana689,68410.43%$39,397,487
24Iowa675,20921.84%$33,945,037
25West Virginia611,36932.7%$129,525,056
26Kansas606,59120.85%$998,419
27Pennsylvania589,4694.58%$128,444,692
28Washington545,1097.79%$166,058,182
29New Mexico520,16524.34%$76,978,670
30Colorado439,9048.35%$112,772,612
31Hawaii425,28430.23%$33,972,800
32Montana378,39337.17%$13,796,640
33Idaho372,86822.65%$8,169,716
34Maryland362,6116.11%$115,240,581
35Utah325,28511.09%$31,048,683
36Nebraska303,65016.25%$11,547,866
37Oregon288,4877.28%$20,548,476
38South Dakota273,03332.62%$20,572,242
39Nevada196,7346.83%$26,713,723
40Alaska187,73625.35%$0
41Wyoming182,93531.28%$10,671,802
42New Jersey152,1871.7%$39,638,152
43Massachusetts148,3782.23%$77,517,537
44Maine122,2139.11%$25,402,904
45Vermont112,08117.77%$45,649,894
46New Hampshire81,7276.11%$44,480,992
47Connecticut77,0792.12%$93,855,029
48North Dakota60,5508.77%$10,781,157
49Delaware48,9925.25%$0
50Rhode Island2,3130.21%$21,739,183
District of Columbia9,3871.5%$17,457,764
Puerto Rico2,110,53457.19%$38,613,544

It’s important to note that as of this writing 41% of the US population has access to fixed wireless broadband. While this and other wireless technologies have their benefits and drawbacks when compared to Cable, DSL, and Fiber Optics, it may not be economical for rural customers to have access to multiple wired providers due to large infrastructure costs and the economies of scale required to support those costs.

One Comment, Add Yours Below.

The numbers for Washington seem like they must be off by quite a bit. In most parts of Seattle the option is Comcast for true broadband. Century Link is in a lot of places but as far as I can tell, they don’t offer broadband speeds in most locations. Only a few places truly have choice.

Most apartment buildings choose single cable provider so I would argue that in areas where both Comcast and Wave (formerly Boradstripe) are available, a lot of folks only have the choice of one of those.

The data also seems to leave out some Seattle providers like CondoInternet which improves the numbers a bit but I sill think that anything in the 90s for Washington is too high.

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