North Carolina holds the title of 18th-best state when it comes to broadband access ranking in the USA. Currently, 33.1% of North Carolinians have access to fiber-optic internet service, which is significantly ahead of the national average of 25% of American consumers with access to the same. The average statewide download speed hovers at 115.5 Mbps, which is similar to download speeds in Michigan, Nevada, and Alabama.
The Digital Divide in North Carolina
Two main factors play into measuring the digital divide in North Carolina: availability and affordability.
As for affordability, 95.2% of North Carolinians currently have access to a wired connection with speeds of 25 Mbps or higher. Still, 394,000 of North Carolina’s residents are left without a broadband connection capable of the same speeds, and another 118,000 people do not have access to a wired connection at all at their place of residence. Additionally, while 173 internet providers operate in North Carolina, 816,000 people have access to only one provider, making it impossible to switch if they are unsatisfied with the provider.
As for the cost of internet in North Carolina, affordability data reveals that 46.8% of the state’s population has access to what is considered a low-priced internet plan (costing equal to or less than $60 per month). This percentage is behind the national average of 51.5% of American consumers with access to a low-priced plan.
Overall, North Carolina’s residents are relatively well-connected. However, some cities’ broadband connection is better than others when it comes to speed, coverage, and pricing. The top five best-connected cities in North Carolina are Cary, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, and Winston Salem, with Cary ranking first in the state.
On the flip side, the cities with the worst broadband availability in North Carolina are Little Switzerland, Linville Falls, Balsam, Maury, and Hamilton, with Little Switzerland ranking lowest in the state.
Read up on how North Carolina’s internet stacks up against other states throughout the country here.
Since 2010, over $6.6 million in federal grants has been awarded to the North Carolina Department of Commerce to put toward gathering broadband data and funding development. An additional $120,685,297 in federal grant funds have been directed toward expanding broadband infrastructure within North Carolina.
Currently, thea Connecting North Carolina: State Broadband Plan is operating with the goal “for every North Carolinian to have affordable access to broadband service—wireline or wireless—if they so choose, by June 2021”.
The information above is taken from a mix of public and private datasets. More about our data here.