Rhode Island has the 4th best broadband access ranking out of all the states in the US. While small geographically, Rhode Island is remarkably well-connected, with each of its five counties enjoying widespread high-speed internet coverage. Only 1.5% of Rhode Island’s population does not have access to 100 Mbps speeds, and the average statewide download speed is 163.1 Mbps. Additionally, 84.2% of Rhode Islanders have access to fiber-optic service, which is over triple the national average of 25% of American consumers with access to fiber internet services.
The Digital Divide in Rhode Island
While Rhode Island’s population is fairly evenly connected, there remains a digital divide – or technological gap – between those who have access to affordable, high-speed internet and those who do not.
For instance, while 44 internet providers currently operate within Rhode Island, 11,000 of the state’s residents don’t have any wired internet providers offering services where they live, and another 22,000 people only have access to one internet provider at their place of residence. Beyond that, even though 98.5% of Rhode Islanders have access to a wired broadband connection with speeds of 25 Mbps or faster, 16,000 people are left without a connection capable of such speeds.
As for internet cost, recent affordability data shows that 88.5% of Rhode Islanders have access to a low-priced internet plan (a plan costing $60 or less per month). This is far ahead of the nationwide percentage of 51.5% of US residents with access to a low-priced plan.
While every county in Rhode Island enjoys over 96% high-speed broadband coverage, some cities within the state stand out as the best-connected in terms of internet speeds, pricing, and availability. The top five highest-ranking cities in Rhode Island are Providence, Central Falls, Woonsocket, Warren, and Westerly, with Providence topping the list as first in the state.
Even with its high overall ranking, a handful of Rhode Island’s cities lag behind in comparison to the more well-connected cities. The five worst-connected cities in the state are Block Island, Slatersville, Little Compton, Albion, and Middletown, with Block Island ranking lowest in Rhode Island.
Find out more about how Rhode Island stacks up against other states throughout the country here.
Over $21.7 million in federal grants has also been allocated to the expansion of broadband infrastructure in Rhode Island.
Currently, the Rhode Island Office of Innovation’s ConnectRI program is working to close the state’s digital divide.
The information above is taken from a mix of public and private datasets. More about our data here.