The State of Broadband in America, Q2 2019

The State of Broadband in America, Q2 2019

Written by December 7, 2020

America’s digital divide impacts education, opportunity and economic growth. The extent and impact of the digital divide has been so contentious because of the lack of solid datapoints to quantify and classify it. We are introducing a new quarterly broadband report, based on data collected from more than 2,000 ISPs, that focuses on the important issues of affordability and access to ultra-high speeds. Our data shows that less than half of Americans have access to a $60 per month wired broadband internet plan and half of Americans have access to ultra-high speeds at any price, which we are defining in this report as 500 Mbps download speeds or higher.

The State of Digital Inclusion

Percentage of Each State with Access to Affordable Internet

Percentage of Each State with Access to Affordable Internet

Percentage of the U.S. Population with Access to Low Priced Wired Broadband

Percentage of the U.S. Population with Access to Low Priced Wired Broadband

Percentage of the U.S. Population with Access to High Speeds

Percentage of the U.S. Population with Access to High Speeds

Percentage of Each State with Access to High Speed

Percentage of Consumers With Access to Wired Broadband at 500 Mbps

New Broadband Bills

Across the country, many new broadband infrastructure bills have been passed, with several focusing squarely on rural deployment strategies. In Alabama, the Broadband Using Electric Easements Accessibility Act will allow electricity providers to use existing or future electric easements for broadband-centric purposes. Elsewhere, proposed bills aim to make it easier for rural ISPs to apply for and receive invaluable federal funding, much of which is typically doled out to the larger incumbent providers.

Low Earth Orbit

The battle for satellite internet dominance has been heating up this year, with both SpaceX and Amazon’s Project Kuiper taking tangible steps toward getting their satellite constellations into orbit and online. Both initiatives have now submitted initial FCC filings, paving the way for additional tests toward the goal of bringing the networks online for consumers starting as early as Q1 2020.

Another competitor, OneWeb, has six test satellites in low orbit currently. SpaceX, for their part, already has just under 60 satellites in place, but Amazon and other entries to the market like The Virgin Group and LeoSat have yet to secure launch dates for their initial tests.

5G Deployment

5G, the new cellular baseband that promises to bring broadband-level speeds to mobile devices, continues to be deployed in waves across the U.S. Major cities like LA and Dallas are seeing small cell transmitters installed across limited sections of their urban centers, but residents on the outskirts (and in crucially underserved rural regions) are being largely left behind.

FCC Spending Caps

In early June, FCC head Ajit Pai proposed a rural broadband spending cap that would disproportionately impact rural and low-income communities. The cap has since received GOP support, with Pai noting that it would serve to “strike the appropriate balance between ensuring adequate funding for the Universal Service programs while minimizing the financial burden on ratepayers and providing predictability for program participants.”

Democratic FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel called the proposed cap “fundamentally inconsistent with this agency’s high-minded rhetoric about closing the digital divide.”

Percentage of the State Population with Access to Affordable & High-Speed Wired Broadband

State Percentage of the Population with Access to $60 Wired Broadband Percentage of the Population with Access to at least 500 Mbps of Wired Broadband
Alabama 42.4% 32.3%
Alaska 0.0% 73.9%
Arizona 4.2% 17.7%
Arkansas 35.9% 25.7%
California 68.1% 38.8%
Colorado 3.1% 79.0%
Connecticut 26.5% 4.8%
Delaware 56.3% 96.8%
District of Columbia 65.6% 98.8%
Florida 58.0% 37.9%
Georgia 55.0% 57.0%
Hawaii 50.6% 72.2%
Idaho 64.5% 65.5%
Illinois 59.4% 84.6%
Indiana 48.5% 66.2%
Iowa 15.9% 73.4%
Kansas 48.3% 34.5%
Kentucky 36.6% 30.3%
Louisiana 42.2% 21.9%
Maine 0.4% 7.7%
Maryland 61.2% 89.0%
Massachusetts 42.3% 77.8%
Michigan 54.6% 18.5%
Minnesota 15.5% 64.9%
Mississippi 46.0% 52.2%
Missouri 49.1% 41.2%
Montana 0.5% 6.6%
Nebraska 9.9% 18.4%
Nevada 12.2% 15.5%
New Hampshire 1.6% 66.2%
New Jersey 76.0% 82.6%
New Mexico 11.7% 70.1%
New-York 69.0% 61.3%
North Carolina 39.2% 58.0%
North Dakota 76.5% 76.7%
Ohio 46.3% 22.8%
Oklahoma 37.0% 22.8%
Oregon 23.4% 66.8%
Pennsylvania 42.5% 60.9%
Rhode Island 89.5% 66.8%
South Carolina 50.4% 18.7%
South Dakota 69.8% 62.6%
Tennessee 58.4% 51.1%
Texas 57.7% 53.1%
Utah 22.9% 86.5%
Vermont 0.8% 18.7%
Virginia 47.0% 66.9%
Washington 15.4% 80.5%
West Virginia 4.5% 43.8%
Wisconsin 41.7% 11.5%
Wyoming 13.3% 6.7%

About BroadbandNow Data

Data for the BroadbandNow Pricing Study comes from publicly available plan data from more than 2,000 internet service providers from Q2 of 2019. We defined broadband internet as a residential provider plan with at least 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds, wired broadband as cable, fiber, and DSL technologies, and non-satellite broadband as cable, fiber, DSL, and fixed wireless technologies. Coverage was based on what providers have reported on their most recent FCC Form 477 at the census block level. If a provider has indicated that they have coverage in a census block, we assume that all of the provider’s national plans are also available in that given block. Plan pricing is based on the regular monthly rate offered. Promotional rates are only considered if that is the only advertised price publicly available.

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