The Federal Communications Commission (or as we insiders like to call it, the FCC) has released its annual report on the state of broadband deployment in these here United States and while there is improvement in getting to the point where all Americans at least have the ability to access broadband Internet, you can see there is still quite a bit of pink on that map.
We suggest you scroll down a bit and play with the fully interactive version of the map, that lets you zoom in on each county in the nation to see just how many of that county’s residents have access to the various forms of non-dial-up Internet.
Of course, if you live in one of those pink areas, this page is probably still loading, so… sorry about that.
According to the FCC’s latest numbers, approximately 19 million Americans (that’s a little over 6% of the population, if you’re into that sort of thing) are still without access to fixed broadband service.
The overwhelming majority of these people (14.5 million) live in rural areas. In fact, the FCC figures that around 1-in-4 rural Americans lacks broadband access. The problem is even more pronounced in tribal areas, where nearly one-third of the population lacks access.
Of course, just because one has access to broadband does not mean that one wants to pay for broadband, as the FCC found that around 100 million Americans have not subscribed to a broadband Internet service.
“Because millions still lack access to or have not adopted broadband,” writes the FCC, “the Report concludes broadband is not yet being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion.”
“The U.S. has now regained global leadership in key areas of the broadband economy, including mobile, where we lead in mobile apps and 4G deployment,” says FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “but, in this flat, competitive global economy, we need to keep driving toward faster broadband and universal access.”
Our cohorts at Consumers Union have looked at the report [PDF] and released the following statement:
It is critical for the FCC to continue to look at the progress of deployment of broadband, which is increasingly becoming a necessity for all consumers. The FCC has provided much needed data in this report. This progress report, however, indicates that millions of consumers are still lacking access to broadband. As access to high-speed Internet access becomes dominated by a cable monopoly and wireless duopoly, we hope that policy makers can address market shortcomings which have not provided the incentives to ensure that all consumers have access to broadband.