Too many Americans remain without adequate access to broadband Internet, according to the nation’s communications regulators, the FCC: America is not wired enough.
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission, the FCC, is due to present this week its congressionally-mandated Broadband Progress Report for 2016 and what the draft report finds is 34 million Americans still lack adequate access to broadband (high-speed) Internet service, which the FCC defines as having 25 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds and 3 Mbps for upload speeds.
Given the sheer volume of data and information being transmitted along the Internet in the 21st Century, broadband Internet service is considered essential for fully benefiting from all the wired world has to offer for education, economic advancement and business.
An interactive version of the map, below, can be found here (or click on the map). In the interactive version, viewers can click on specific areas to see how individual U.S. counties fare.
“A persistent urban-rural digital divide has left 39 percent of the rural population without access to fixed broadband,” says the draft FCC report. “By comparison, only 4 percent living in urban areas lack access.”
The report also suggests:
- 10 percent lack access nationwide
- 41 percent of Tribal Lands residents lack access
- 41 percent of schools have not met the Commission’s short-term goal of 100 Mbps per
1,000 students/staff. These schools educate 47 percent of the nation’s students
- Only 9 percent of schools have fiber connections capable of meeting the FCC’s
long-term goal of 1 Gbps per 1,000 students
- Internationally, the U.S. continues to lag behind a number of other developed nations,
ranking 16th out of 34 countries
“While the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans,” says the commission in the draft report.
And in the highly-charged political atmosphere of Washington, D.C., the report is being seen by the telecommunications industry – and by their congressional allies – as a power grab by the FCC.
“Some in Congress share the concerns of industry,” said The Hill newspaper, in a hilariously-worded understatement. “In a letter sent this week to Wheeler, six Republican senators questioned the commission’s decision to use a lower benchmark for a program to expand broadband access in rural communities. They fretted that the FCC might more-tightly regulate providers offering speeds higher than the current standard.”