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.

Broadband Coverage by State

For this particular comparison, we took a look at which states had access to internet download speeds greater than or equal to 25 Mbps. Coverage percentage is based on population covered, not geographic coverage.   As you can see, the North East has a pretty dominant hold on broadband coverage, with Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Delaware all falling in the top 10 most covered states. The West and Midwest follow closely behind, with Washington, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon all falling in the top 15 covered states. 1. Rhode Island – 99.7% 2. New Jersey – 98.8% 3. Connecticut – 98.8% 4. District of Columbia – 98.3% 5. New York – 98% 6. Hawaii – 97% 7. Massachusetts – 97% 8. Washington – 96.8% 9. Utah – 96.2% 10. Delaware – 96% 11. Illinois – 95.3% 12. Nevada – 95.2% 13. Oregon – 94.3% 14. California – 94.3% 15. Florida – 94.2% 16. Maryland – 93.8% 17. Pennsylvania – 91.5% 18. North Carolina – 91.2% 19. Minnesota – 91% 20. Michigan – 89.2% 21. North Dakota – 88.9% 22. Arizona – 88.2% 23. Ohio – 88% 24. Georgia – 87.4% 25. Indiana – 86.9% 26. Wisconsin – 86.7% 27. Maine – 86.5% 28. South Dakota – 86.4% 29. New Hampshire – 86.2% 30. Tennessee – 85% 31. South Carolina – 84.9% 32. Virginia – 84.4% 33. Colorado – 83.2% 34. Iowa – 82.7% 35. Kansas – 81.7% 36. Idaho – 81.3% 37. Missouri – 79.8% 38. Nebraska – 79.3% 39. Louisiana – 78.9% 40. Alabama – 76.6% 41. New Mexico – 75% 42. Wyoming – 73.6% 43. Mississippi – 69.3% 44. Oklahoma – 67.8% 45. West Virginia – 67.5% 46. Texas – 66% 47. Kentucky – 64.8% 48. Alaska – 63.6% 49. Arkansas – 58.5% 50. Montana – 22.5% 51. Vermont – 20.7%

Broadband Coverage by Metro

 

Top 25 Metros with Broadband Coverage

If you want to have a good chance of broadband coverage, then it would seem Washington State is one of the best places to live, with 5 metros in the top 25, followed by Florida with 4 metros and New York State with 3 metros. All three states are in the top 15 coverage states, so this should come as no surprise. 1. Myrtle Beach, SC – 1% 2. Kennewick, WA – 0.999% 3. Carson City, NV – 0.999% 4. Bridgeport, CT – 0.998% 5. Poughkeepsie, NY – 0.998% 6. New York, NY – 0.998% 7. Allentown, PA – 0.997% 8. Champaign Urbana, IL – 0.997% 9. Honolulu, HI – 0.997% 10. Providence, RI – 0.996% 11. Palm Bay, FL – 0.996% 12. Spokane, WA – 0.995% 13. Salt Lake City, UT – 0.994% 14. Bellingham, WA – 0.994% 15. Tampa, FL – 0.993% 16. Winston Salem, NC – 0.993% 17. Corvallis, OR – 0.993% 18. Seattle, WA – 0.993% 19. Buffalo, NY – 0.993% 20. Los Angeles, CA – 0.993% 21. Palm Coast, FL – 0.992% 22. Las Vegas, NV – 0.992% 23. Milwaukee, WI – 0.992% 24. Mt Vernon, WA – 0.991% 25. Orlando, FL – 0.991%

Worst 25 Metros with 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] Virginia beat out every other state in the nation in terms of Internet accessibility by having the fastest Internet speeds. That means residents of the Old Dominion enjoy less buffering in their YouTube videos, faster music downloads and generally just do everything online quicker than the rest of the country. What’s So Special About Virginia? It’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason Virginia has such high Internet speeds, but we can speculate based upon common reasoning. The top five states with the highest Internet speeds have one thing in common – denser populations in smaller areas. Virginia ranks 14th in terms of population density and is home to a large portion of the D.C. metro area. It’s also the 12th most populated state in the nation, as of 2013. It’s reasonable to assume, because of Virginia’s population density, Internet providers are more abundant than in states with smaller populations, like Wyoming or Nevada. Virginia was once nicknamed the “Internet Capital of the World” due to its wealth of Internet service providers. Today it has over 70 providers within state borders. Virginia also has ten providers of fiber-optic Internet service, which is the best currently available on the market. Fiber-optic services reach 45.4 percent of the population in the entire state. At one point, the highest download speed in Virginia was 1024 Mbps, which we can assume is most likely due to Internet speeds available to government agencies. In fact, the government might be the biggest cause of the state’s high Internet speeds. Virginia contains a majority of government agencies with access to better service providers than most rural areas. In addition to most government officials working out of the D.C. metro area, the CIA also calls Virginia home. By the Numbers So how much faster is Virginia, exactly? Well, the average Internet speed across the nation is currently 10 megabits per second, according to online traffic routing company Akamai. While 10 Mbps is adequate for most general uses, it’s not exactly prime speed for watching Netflix or YouTube. With a 10 Mbps connection, you’ll generally suffer instances of lag or buffering, leaving you waiting in frustration for your video to load. Virginians enjoy average speeds of 13.7 Mbps, enabling them to watch unbroken scenes of “Breaking Bad” to their hearts’ content. Virginia is followed closely by Delaware and Massachusetts, each with average connection speeds of 13.1 Mbps. On the other end of the spectrum, Alaska claims the slowest Internet speeds across the country at only 7.0 Mbps. They’re the ones who spend hours waiting for Microsoft updates to install. Taking a Step Back Though Virginia is the fastest in the United States it doesn’t hold a candle to Internet speeds around the world. The U.S. is below the average for highest Internet speeds and stands at 10th place. South Korea currently has the fastest at 23.6 Mbps, with Japan in second. This means that they can download entire episodes of TV shows in the time it takes you to download the latest One Direction song. More populated states don’t necessarily have the highest speeds as some might assume. California operates at 10.9 Mbps, New York at 11.5 Mbps and Texas, the country’s second biggest state, has Internet speeds of 9.4 megabits per second. The East Coast dominates when it comes to highest average Internet speeds. It might surprise you to know that, even though they’re still at the top, Virginia has slower Internet speeds than it did a year ago. The Old Dominion’s speed actually dropped by 4.3 Mbps between this year and last. Why does it matter? Well, there are indications that states with higher Internet speeds also have more intelligent people living there. Aside from that, faster Internet speeds aid in business and promote productivity as well as the spread of information. It also allows you to watch YouTube videos without all that annoying buffering, which is really what most people probably want. It should be pointed out, while Virginia stands at the top of the heap, the U.S. as a whole is woefully behind where it should be in terms of Internet speeds. Virginians might be able to brag, but they can’t brag too much. [zipfinder]
Photo: Skip Steuart/Flickr
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