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] When President Obama made his speech urging the FCC to preempt state laws prohibiting municipal networks, he made it in Cedar Falls, Iowa. The state had no such law, and Cedar Falls, home to the University of Northern Iowa, has a gigabit municipal network. While this lack of a law made Iowa a prime example of the president’s vision, it’s now the passage of a new law that could improve high-speed Internet access for even more Iowans.
A new law in Iowa seeks to increase the availability of broadband in rural portions of the state by offering tax breaks to companies that expand access in rural areas. Governor Terry Branstad called it the “Connect Every Acre” bill because, he said, connecting every acre of the state to high-speed Internet is crucial for continued economic growth.
Iowa taxpayers should be pleased to know that the bill uses no state funds to accomplish its goal. Although the state will manage a grant program to expand broadband availability, money for those grants will come from the federal government, non-profit groups, and private investors. The bill also offers 10-year property tax exemptions to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that expand broadband access in specific rural areas.
The Current State of Iowa’s Internet
Robert von Wollfradt, Iowa’s Chief Information Officer, says broadband Internet is already available in 60 percent of the state. Data from online analytics company Ookla shows that Iowa just barely beats the national average for Internet value in terms of cost per Mbps, but below the national averages for connection quality and advertised speed vs. actual speed. Akamai’s latest “State of the Internet” report shows that Iowa ranks 19th among the states for average Internet speed.
Given that population density is a major factor in the availability of fiber networks, states like Iowa, with few large population centers, have to pick up some of the slack that industry and the federal government programs like the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) Connect America program won’t. Analyzing Ookla’s data alongside U.S. Census Bureau data showed that population density correlates with Internet value. Iowa ranks 36th among states for population density, and the only cities with populations of more than 100,000 are Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.
Why Rural Broadband Matters to Iowa
Although bringing broadband to rural communities is important for education and luring new businesses, broadband access, particularly Wi-Fi, plays an increasingly large part in one of the state’s oldest industries, agriculture. Consider that it’s not just the FCC promoting expansion of rural broadband: the U.S. Department of Agriculture is also involved, offering loans to companies expanding rural broadband. Connectivity is making farming equipment increasingly productivity, and John Deere predicts a future of machine-to-machine connections—in other words, the Internet of Things is going farming.
Not all Iowans seeking faster Internet access need to wait until the new law spurs change. If you haven’t looked for a better plan lately, you might be surprised at what’s available. And you’ll definitely be surprised at how easy it is to shop for that faster connection – just enter your zip code below to get started.
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