Percentage of each State’s Population with Access to Broadband Internet
The term “broadband internet” is used frequently in discussions about Internet access, but what does “broadband internet” actually mean? According to the FCC, to be called broadband internet download speeds must be 25 Mbps or higher.
With this clear delineation, the question then becomes, “Who has access to broadband internet in the United States?” We compiled a ranked list of the states, and their respective broadband coverage. We also took a look at the largest metros across the USA, and ranked them based on broadband coverage.
More important than where to find broadband speeds may be to know which metros to avoid, with less than satisfactory speeds. Of the ~ 370 metros analyzed, 14 metros in Texas fell into the worst 25 broadband covered metros. In fairness, Texas is the second largest state in the USA, which means coverage can be difficult to some of the more rural areas in the state.
Conversely, California only has one metro fall into the worst 25 covered metros, and is the largest state in the USA. Unfortunately, you will only find Los Angeles in the top 25 most covered metros, meaning the majority of California’s cities have relatively average broadband coverage.
1. Longview, TX – 0.503%
2. Visalia, CA – 0.483%
3. College Station, TX – 0.294%
4. Cumberland, MD – 0.288%
5. Killeen Temple, TX – 0.28%
6. Lubbock, TX – 0.258%
7. Missoula, MT – 0.25%
8. Billings, MT – 0.237%
9. Yuma, AZ – 0.228%
10. Burlington, VT – 0.219%
11. Abilene, TX – 0.2%
12. Tyler, TX – 0.196%
13. Amarillo, TX – 0.193%
14. San Angelo, TX – 0.171%
15. Grand Junction, CO – 0.149%
16. Hot Springs, AR – 0.09%
17. Great Falls, MT – 0.085%
18. El Paso, TX – 0.064%
19. Beaumont, TX – 0.041%
20. Wichita Falls, TX – 0.024%
21. McAllen, TX – 0.019%
22. Laredo, TX – 0.013%
23. Pittsfield, MA – 0.007%
24. Brownsville, TX – 0.006%
25. Pine Bluff, AZ – 0.001%
All in all, there is a substantial variance in the amount of broadband coverage across the United States. The Northeast and West seem to be leading the charge on improving access to high speed internet for their residents. Want to see which providers are available in your area, and how they stack up against the rest of nation? Use our zip search below to get started.
[zipfinder] Hawaii is one of the top ten most visited states in the U.S., but it also holds the dubious honor of being in the bottom ten for Internet speeds. Poor infrastructure has left Hawaii struggling to keep up with the rest of the nation in terms of broadband access, which many believe is having a negative effect on business in the state.
The Sorry State of Broadband
Hawaii ranks 46th in terms of overall Internet speeds in the United States. The state currently has an average speed of about 20Mbps spread across broadband, wired, and fiber optic connections. Broadband connections average 31.2Mbps statewide. Its closest neighbors have access to some of the fastest Internet speeds worldwide. Singapore averages 105 Mbps while Japan reaches speeds of 70 Mbps.
Hawaii was one of only five states to see a decrease in average peak connection speeds in Akamai’s latest “State of the Internet Report.” The peak speed dropped 1.4 percent to 42.7 Mbps for broadband access. While over 42Mbps is fast, not many people in the state actually have access to this type of connection. But the good news is over 97 percent of Hawaiians do have access to at least some type of broadband connection. This makes Hawaii one of the top five in the country in terms of having the most residents with access to a broadband connection.
Why Hawaii Needs Broadband
Hawaii’s economy rested heavily on tourism for decades, with 2014 being a record-breaking year for the industry. However, members of the now-defunct Hawaii Broadband Task Force fear tourism alone won’t be enough to sustain the state in the coming years.
The former task force representatives argue a high-tech environment will encourage entrepreneurs to develop businesses and would cause established businesses to expand. They’ve routinely made comparisons to Silicon Valley as the ideal benchmark for the Hawaii economy.
The problem, the group claims, is that startups and other local businesses aren’t selling products that require high-speed Internet access. Essentially, the primary customers for broadband speeds in Hawaii are residential consumers who enjoy playing video games and streaming TV shows at home, not business professionals.
Hawaii is also in a precarious position due to location. The island state was once a hub for cables strewn across the ocean floor to help connect nations overseas. Due to advances in fiber optic cables and connections, these might no longer be necessary.
Members of the task force argue businesses should start pushing for fiber landing sites in and around Hawaii. They cite South America as evidence that building landing sites for fiber can help boost the economy.
During Google’s expansion plans for their “Google for Communities” project, which aimed to provide 1GB broadband speeds to local communities, Hawaii was passed over due to what some believe are unnecessarily high restrictions on land rights and building poles.
Estimates to boost overall Internet speeds in the state have been placed as high as the hundred millions.
Does Hawaii Need Faster Internet?
Hawaii certainly has no problem attracting tourists, but the Hawaiian Tourism Authority predicts numbers to stall in 2015. Because of this, officials might need to begin looking toward alternatives to the tourism industry to keep the economy going.
With the rest of the world moving toward increasing Internet speeds, the little state nestled in the Pacific Ocean needs to think about how to keep up. Resting entirely on tourism in a world where Americans have wider access to more destinations could prove to be a problem down the road.
Photo Credit: Nan Palmero/Flikr