When compared to the rest of the states in the US, Louisiana ranks 33rd for broadband access. The highest concentration of high-speed internet coverage can be found in the southeast, toward the toe of the boot-shaped state. This is perhaps due to the higher population density in that area. According to user speed tests, average download speeds in Louisiana are about 109.4 Mbps, which is faster than a number of higher-ranking states, including California, North Dakota, Ohio, and Hawaii.
The Digital Divide in Louisiana
In the modern world of telecommunications, the term ‘digital divide’ has been coined to describe the separation between those who have access to the latest technology and those who do not. This divide can be measured in terms of both availability and affordability, both of which are important factors when it comes to high-speed internet access.
At this time in Louisiana, 89.3% of the population has access to wired broadband with speeds of 25 Mbps or faster. Still, 404,000 people are left without access to a connection capable of such speeds. While there are 126 internet providers offering services to Louisianans, 262,000 people do not have access to any wired providers at their place of residence, and another 439,000 people only have one internet provider operating at their location, limiting them when it comes to choices in plans and services.
However, Louisiana is slightly ahead of national averages in terms of providing affordable internet to the state’s population. Current affordability data reveals that 56.4% of Louisianans have access to what is considered a ‘low-priced’ internet plan, costing $60 or less per month. About 51.5% of consumers nationwide have access to the same.
When it comes to coverage, affordability, and speed, some Louisiana cities outshine the rest. The most well-connected cities in Louisiana are Metairie, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and Shreveport, with the best of all being Metairie.
On the other end of the spectrum, a handful of other Louisiana cities are lagging behind with their broadband connectivity. At this time, the worst-connected cities in the state are Hamburg, Acme, Belmont, and Lisbon, with Hamburg being the worst. No residents in any of these cities have access to wired broadband.
Since 2010, federal grants amounting to $6,649,679 have been awarded to Louisiana to further broadband data collection and development within the state. An additional $89,759,799 in federal grant money has gone toward expanding broadband infrastructure in Louisiana.
Current legislation has launched the Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana (BEL) Commission, which has set out to “Improve both the adoption and availability of broadband service for Louisiana residents by providing universal access to broadband service with minimum committed speed of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload, scalable to up to 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload, for all Louisianans by 2029.”
The information above is taken from a mix of public and private datasets. More about our data here.