Every year we use a combination of public and proprietary data to create a comprehensive report on the quality of internet in all 50 states and D.C., and this year we made some key changes to our ranking algorithm so that this report is the most comprehensive ranking yet. We explain more about what we changed and why in the methodology section at the end.
- Availability of low-priced broadband remains low across the US. In half of all states, less than 20% of the population has access to a broadband plan for $60 per month or less, and Washington was the only state with over 50% of their population having access at 54%.
- The category with the largest geographic disparity in the country is latency (round trip time), with 18 states earning a score of 0 for that section.
- We support changing the definition of broadband from 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up to 100Mbps down and 25Mbps up, but we’re a long way away from widespread access to those speeds. Nationally, 100Mbps down is in the 62nd percentile and 25Mbps up is in the 69th percentile.
|5 Best States for Broadband||5 Worst States for Broadband|
Why the best?
Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware earned their spots in the top 5 through near-universal access to broadband internet and incredible internet quality.
Washington pushed its way into the top 5 by having the highest access to low-priced broadband in the country despite its lower median download and upload speeds.
Why the worst?
All 5 of the worst states scored poorly for internet quality across the board, with all five receiving a score of 0 for latency.
Excluding Vermont, they also have some of the lowest access to broadband internet in the country.
Below are the rankings for each state in the US based on access to broadband internet – including access to low price plans and fiber-optics – and the quality of their internet.
|State||Rank||Wired / Fixed Wireless Broadband (%)||Wired Low-Priced Broadband (%)||Fiber-Optic Service (%)||Median RTT||RTT Score||Median Download Speed||Download Score||Median Upload Speed|
|District of Columbia||19||99.5||19||78.3||6.8||100||42.2||10.34482759||10|
Our new methodology still includes scoring each state based on a selection of weighted categories, but the categories and their weights have been changed slightly from previous years. They are:
- Access to Wired or Fixed Wireless Broadband: 35%
- Access to Wired Low-Priced Broadband: 30%
- Median Round Trip Time: 10%
- Median Download Speed: 10%
- Median Upload Speed: 10%
- Access to Fiber-Optic Service: 5%
Wired or Fixed Wireless Broadband refers to DSL, Copper, Cable, Fiber, or Fixed Wireless connections with at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed.
Wired Low-Priced Broadband refers to DSL, Copper, Cable, or Fiber connections with at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speed that are also available for $60 per month or less.
Each of these categories is either based on access or quality.
In previous years there were four access categories. Two were for access to wired and fixed wireless broadband and access to wired broadband prices, while the other two were for access to broadband and broadband prices that included non-wired connections.
This year we did away with the two that included non-wired connections. This is because those categories were already weighted very low which meant they had minimal impact on the results, and because satellite internet provider Starlink is becoming fully operational, which means that non-wired access will soon be 100% in every state, making that metric obsolete.
We also added a new access category based on access to fiber-optic service, because it is the fastest and most reliable internet technology available today.
Previously the only quality category was download speed which paints an incomplete picture of the overall broadband situation.
This year we added upload speed and round trip time, which is a measure of latency. Depending on what you use the internet for, any one of those three metrics could be the most important thing to you. People who play a lot of online competitive video games may consider latency to be the most important, a live streamer or business owner might prioritize upload speed, while an everyday user who mostly uses the internet for watching streaming services could be most interested in download speeds. You can use our bandwidth calculator to find out what’s right for you.
We analyzed over 106 million speed tests from the M-Labs NDT Data Set between June 1st to September 30th, 2022 for their upload speed, download speed, and round trip time.
Each state receives a score from 0 to 100 for each of the six categories, and the scores are then weighted and added together to get a final score from 0 to 100.
The three access categories are percentages that already range from 0 to 100, so those were not modified for their score.
The three quality categories were scored by defining the national 65th percentile speed as 100 points and defining the national 35th percentile speed as 0 points, creating a range of speeds around the national median. Each state is then scored based on where its median falls in that national range. Below are the national level statistics used to determine the scores:
- Upload 35th percentile: 8.5 Mbps
Upload median: 12.3 Mbps
Upload 65th percentile: 22.6 Mbps
- Download 35th percentile: 34.1 Mbps
Download median: 64.8 Mbps
Download 65th percentile: 112.4 Mbps
- Round trip time 35th percentile: 19.8 ms
Round trip time median: 11.9 ms
Round trip time 65th percentile: 6.9 ms