In comparison with states nationwide, North Dakota ranks 22nd in terms of broadband access. With the exception of a few less-connected counties, statewide internet coverage is fairly widespread and consistent. Much higher than the national average of 25% coverage, 41.5% of North Dakotans have access to fiber-optic internet service. Average download speeds throughout the state hover at around 90.5 Mbps.
The Digital Divide in North Dakota
Access to reasonably priced high-speed internet is available to the majority of North Dakota’s residents. However, a digital divide remains between North Dakotans who have such access available at their residence and those who do not.
With 98 wired internet providers operating in North Dakota, 15,000 people still do not have access to a single internet provider, and another 186,000 North Dakotans only have access to one provider, making it impossible to switch to a better or lower-priced service, should the need arise. While 94.6% of people in North Dakota have access to wired broadband services capable of 25 Mbps speeds, 33,000 residents remain without the same kind of service.
However, current affordability data reveals that North Dakota is well above national averages when it comes to offering low-priced internet. Over three-quarters, (77.7%) of North Dakota residents have access to a monthly internet plan that costs $60 or less.
While North Dakota has relatively even coverage in comparison to many states, there are some cities that outshine others in regard to internet connectivity. The best-connected cities in North Dakota are New England, Taylor, Mott, Belcourt, and Cooperstown, with New England ranking the best in the state.
In contrast, a handful of places in North Dakota are left poorly connected. The cities with the worst internet connection at this time are Ayr, Fairdale, Caledonia, Pillsbury, and Arvilla with the ladder ranking the lowest in the state.
North Dakota’s primary broadband program known as Broadband ND works to collect data on the state’s current broadband landscape with the goal of expanding and improving existing conditions. To that end, the program has received $3,664,087 in federal grant money as well as another $10.78 million to fuel broadband infrastructure projects within the state.
Information found above has been extracted from both public and private datasets. Read more about our data here.