See All The Pink On This Map? Those Are The 19 Million Americans Without Broadband Access

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.


Edit Your Comment

  1. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    Oooohhhh! The blue is water. Now I understand.

  2. That guy. says:

    I find it interesting how Unpopulated Land is considered the same as Tribal Land.

  3. Overheal says:

    Problems are still present with market gerrymandering/oligopolies. Some neighborhoods might have Comcast and not Time Warner, for example. I’ve got TWC and AT&T, Comcast and Knology while they operate in my market appear to have no interest in providing service to my address.

    The only way I can think of on hand to ‘fix’ that, is to make the telecom infrastructure public/shared among providers.. but good luck with that. Wouldn’t necessarily be the best solution, as at least each private provider is responsible for their own lines, and their livelihoods basically depend on keeping that infrastructure in good condition.

    • JJFIII says:

      The answer is to make the fiber optics owned by one company and all the providers “lease” time on there. OR, it could be worked similar to how phone lines were done when the original ATT was broken up. MCI, or any of the start ups could use the lines.
      THIS would bring prices to a realistic level. Phone service is substantially chepaer in todays dollars than it was prior.

    • PSUSkier says:

      I think the real answer is let the local gov’t install their own service provider networks within the municipality. The large service providers have so much overhead it is ridiculous. I mean, look at the prices they have in Wilson, NC: The latest report is that the town is doing great with regards to revenue because they’re bringing in plenty to support the network and some extra to support public services.

  4. lyontaymer30 says:

    my parents are at least 20 miles from broadband and it does not look like it’s coming any time soon.

  5. Banished to the Corner says:

    I love the fact that Multnomah County, OR (Portland) has only 12 people without broadband access while King County, WA (Seattle) has 7,498 people without broadband. I honestly believe that all 12 in Portland must be my family. LOL

    I’m not actively searching cities for places with fewer than 12.

    • Vinron says:

      DuPage County, IL. Population without access = 2.

      My Illinois county? Too much light pink.

      • SmokeyBacon says:

        I am really curious where in DuPage those 2 are located. I live in DuPage and I can’t imagine a place that would not have access.

      • NotEd says:

        Yeah, but in Will County it’s 2823. Which doesn’t do anyone any good if it’s not reliable access.
        I mean I used to live in Kendall County, which I thought was the boonies, and they only have 291 Population without Access. That doesn’t seem like it could be accurate to me…

  6. NeverLetMeDown2 says:

    In other news, people living in Manhattan don’t have access to cheap parking or low-cost tennis courts.

  7. Fred says:

    Also some of us may not have broadband because our house is in a little valley surrounded by talll trees. Unless they consider a 3g cell signal with a 3gig limit as broadband.

    • levarien says:

      The map says their definition of Broadband speed is 3mbps/768kbps down/up. Even though most people will never get that on their 3G, I’d wager that the FCC is going off of wireless company advertised speeds. So sadly, yes, I think they consider 3G with the pitiful data limits as Broadband.

  8. dulcinea47 says:

    I have access to broadband, but I’m not sure why I would pay $60/month for it when DSL serviceable (if a bit slow) and costs half as much.

  9. SavijMuhdrox says:

    no broadband access for most of Montana? damn, what do they do for porn out there?

    i’m guessing those people with the broadband must like, print the pictures out and stuff and then maybe bind a bunch of them together and send them out via the U.S. Postal Service for others to purvey at their own leisure..

    possibly on a monthly basis..

  10. lunasdude says:

    I live south of Albuquerque, NM in a VERY RURAL area and had dial up for the first 5 years after we moved in, then I switched to Satellite (shudders) for $$$$$$$, crappy speeds and service disruptions, so when Comcast came to my little sand patch I JUMPED ON IT!
    now I pay $79.00 a month (half of what the Satellite was) for 40/50mbps down & 10mpbs up and I am dam glad to have it!
    Now after all these years Centurylink can offer me 20mbps down & 896kps up for $40.00.
    yes there is not a lot of choice and the speeds could be faster but hey, I’m not complaining.

  11. Akuma Matata says:

    What is the point of this? Is this to try to drum up support for the subsidization of installing broadband to rural areas? If so, no thank you.

    • JJFIII says:

      The answer is to make the fiber optics owned by one company and all the providers “lease” time on there. OR, it could be worked similar to how phone lines were done when the original ATT was broken up. MCI, or any of the start ups could use the lines.
      THIS would bring prices to a realistic level. Phone service is substantially cheaper in today’s dollars than it was prior.

    • 2nd party post dated counter check says:

      What is the point of this Tennessee Valley Authority? If it is to subsidize electrification of rural areas,then no thank you.

      • aerodawg says:

        The difference between the necessity of electrcity and the necessity of broadband are staggering, as evidenced by the fact that virtually nobody chooses to go without electricity, yet even in places with heavy broadband saturation, a not insignificant portion of the population chooses to go without….

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          Electricity was not the necessity at the time that it is now. Back then, people though of electricity as wonderful but optional, much the same way we think of broadband as wonderful but optional.

          TVA was one of the reasons electricity became a necessity. Without TVA, significant rural areas would be without electricity, and would have been much, much slower to adopt farm industrialization.

          There’s more on the web – the search box can be your friend (if you let it.)

        • jsibelius says:

          I agree, Cor. The same can also be said of telephone service, although it’s quickly becoming a moot point with people dumping their landlines in favor of mobile service these days. At some point in the future, most households will have internet and the idea that someone is still running on the equivalent of dial-up will be as hard to believe as the idea that there are still areas in this country that still don’t even have telephone service (which was still true at least as recently as 2006).

  12. guynameddrew says:

    This map is wrong for my county. It says there’s no cable internet, yet I’m currently using Charter CABLE internet. We’ve had cable internet for years, so it’s not like we just got it. I’m guessing this map might be wrong for some other counties, too.

  13. AEN says:

    Want access? Move to a green area. Problem solved. Why do people who live or move to remote areas in order to get away from society, congestion, stress, etc. constantly complain that they don’t have access to shopping, malls, cable tv, movie theaters, high speed internet, cell service…. It’s like people moving to the desert and complaining they can’t get water.

    • chancyrendezvous says:

      Many people who live in a rural area haven’t originally chosen to do so. These are often lower SES areas where family ties are important and the financial and relational cost to move to a new location may be prohibitive. I don’t think hoping for modern services in rural areas is asking too much.

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      Just for fun, take a look at Kings County (in Brooklyn, NY).

      Population density – 35,257
      Fiber – 37%

      Every other county (with the exception of Manhattan) has lower population density/higher fiber optic connectivity. There’s slightly less of a discrepancy in Queens and Bronx Counties, but every other surrounding county has a much lower population but higher fiber number.

      The existence of cable and DSL is misleading, because each area is served by 1 or 2 companies.

      Moving to a non-remote area isn’t a guarantee you’ll have access to much of a choice.

  14. dicobalt says:

    See all the pink on this map? That’s where they film horror movies about small towns full of cannibals.

  15. Jawaka says:

    I don’t think that it’s completely reasonable to expect that when you move out into the country in the middle of nowhere that there will be broadband access. That’s just one of the things along with noise, shopping malls, traffic, etc… that you give up when you move out of populated areas.

    • 2nd party post dated counter check says:

      How dare those people in areas like Pine Ridge, SD, Marble City, OK, or Colville, WA live where they were born and their culture exists. Why don’t they just move to the internet and get their Indian on online?

      • aerodawg says:

        Oh god, it’s terrible that they have to make choices about what’s more important to them. How will we survive if people have to make choices. ***shudder***

        • Cor Aquilonis says:

          Yeah! They can either choose to preserve their culture and way of life while being further removed from relevancy by ghettoizing them apart from the internet, or they can abandon their family, community and way of life to move to the city to get an internet. It’s totally a reasonable trade-off.

          That choice is totally on scale with my choice to move from the ‘burbs to a little further in town for a cable internet connection. After all, I had to abandon my culture, family and way of life for the internet – and it was totally worth it! Totally!

          They just need more Personal Responsibility(R).

          / sarcasm

  16. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Wow, nearly all the east coast has broadband, except nearly the entire state of Virginia.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i am saving this to show my boss. my customer support area is VA/WV/western MD and every time they say it seems like i’m not utilizing email enough to contact my customers in VA [instead of phone calls] i try to tell them that most of my virginia customers say it’s such a hassle to check their email that they’d rather have phone calls.
      now i have data to back it up and maybe my boss will stop thinking i’m making it up

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      A good portion of Virginia is rural. Basically, the pink areas incompass a lot of the very poor and the rural, then small pockets of urban and suburban life that is only marginally more well off. I’ve only ever heard of a few of the “pink” counties. I live in a solidly very green portion of the state (northern VA). The little patches of green in the middle of the state are near Central Virginia, where you get Virginia Tech, University of VA, and wealthier counties.

  17. keepher says:

    There I am, I see me and I’m pink. I pay about 80 bucks a month for sat internet. BTW, I’m still waiting for the map to fully zoom in. sigh

  18. TasteyCat says:

    Even in places that do have broadband access, we’re still behind half of Europe, Korea, Japan, and Australia in our broadband capabilities.

  19. Press1forDialTone says:

    Consumer Repprts response = yaaaaawwwwwwwwnnnnnnnn…..
    Just like always. Why won’t they name names!! Because they
    like lots of free stuff to test which then is distributed to the staff
    and then who knows….

    • Press1forDialTone says:

      I stand corrected. Not free stuff but stuff paid for by my donations
      and subscription fees. Hey, when do I get my tested 50″ plasma tv?

  20. EllenRose says:

    I’m using the latest Firefox browser, and the legend almost completely covers the map. Useless under these conditions.

  21. Brynden says:

    Bell County Texas has 13,744 people with out access. I’m just wondering where they live.

  22. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I can’t really believe those numbers of people with no broadband access…it seems way too low. As is the estimate of how many people live in “rural” areas…I believe it’s closer to 20%.

    And forget about trying to get cable or fiber optic to everyone in the country…that’s just stupid. What we need to do is either get DSL to everybody, or get powerline internet up and running everywhere. The physical wiring is already laid everywhere to do either or both of those…we should use it. And believe me, no one living in a rural area is going to care if the best they can get is 3Mb DSL. It’s lightspeed compared to anything else they can get.

    • Shinzakura says:

      Good luck on that DSL. For where I live, when I moved there, Verizon told me that DSL was available in my zip code. It took a month for them to realize that they’d sold me DSL without it actually being installed in my part of the zip code and wouldn’t be.

    • Libertas1 says:

      Broadband over power line would be bad for a host of reasons.

      The most important being that it would set up an RF field that would ruin the radio spectrum from 1khz all the way to 500 mhz or perhaps higher. That means anything with a radio that the average consumer would use (car radios, home stereos, broadcast television, weather radios, shortwave, baby monitors, many cordless phones, etc) would be entirely useless. All of the meaningful portions of Amateur radio would be gone. Many public service organizations radios would be useless as well.

  23. Powerlurker says:

    Is there some place we can see the map at full size? It’s painful to try to use it when text boxes take up half the window. It’s 2012, you don’t need to format websites for 800×600 monitors anymore.

  24. ECA says:

    A few things to ponder..
    with all the BS going around about WHO can watch what, and WHO can monitor you while on the net, and WHO is responsible for WHAT you get on the net…
    RESTRICTIONS to limit certain things being different from each ISP..

    I look over the area Im in and find that the average is around 75% coverage..
    I see very few places with 100%. Also I see FEW if any competitors..generally 1 company for an area.

    I have the option of 2 services from my ISP..
    50mbps, CAPED at 5 gig. $1 per gig over.

    NOW, if you know much about movies..about 800meg each.. AND you watch abit of netflick, yahoo movies, Hulu.. 2 movies would be a good start on that. alittle math 5/.8 which would be about 6-8 movies, you might even get to 10..
    They looked at my service to see if it would be a good thing and found I hit 5gig by the middle of the month(Easy)..

    Then comes the TV channel sites..that REQUIRE YOU to have Cable TV also, just to watch them ONLINE..which is BS. Why pay $50 for internet then MORE $30-50 for cable..
    Dont get me wrong..
    I would PAY for cable IF’…
    I could pay $1 per channel I WANTED..
    and get all LOCAL free, as well. I would be paying something about $10-15 for cable…

    NOW for you that dont understand the internet and HOW strange it is. Think about the CIA/FBI/Others trying to monitor the net.
    Lets take 1 hyperactive teen, for 1 week on the net..log all the data used/abused/transfer..NOW multiply that by 100,000,000.. thats just the USA,.. add the same from canada, Mexico, South america(YES we monitor it)..then lets go international..
    Then understand that MANY/MOST of the game services are NOT in the USA..Servers are CHEAP elsewhere.. That number above just went from 100 million to 2-3 billion.
    Im not even going to add into this, proprietary stuff.
    think of a room 20×20 filled 1foot deep. EACH DAY..that has to be sorted and collated..not by a computer because things change and computers are to Literal/specific..and wont see the changes.
    Wont mention the other ways and processes that have been used to monitor around the world..

    • Cor Aquilonis says:

      Good Sir or Madam,

      I regret to inform you that any point you are trying to make has been buried under a torrent of incoherent gibberish and poor grammar. If you wish to make a point, please try again once you’ve sobered up.


  25. Shinzakura says:

    They have Fiber in Frederick County, VA? Where? I can’t even get DSL to my home despite “it being available in my zipcode” (thank you very little, Verizon) and we supposedly have FIBER in the county? If I didn’t have Comcast, I swear I’d be screwed – and the fact that I’m glad to have Comcast tells you exactly how bad things are.

    This report tells me it’s clearly time to re-regulate telecommunications. Might not be the best solution, but the current one ain’t working either.

  26. clayismyname says:

    I moved from the city to a rural part of the state 2 years ago. We looked at 2 pieces of property and the one, which was even further out in B.F.E., had cable internet.
    The property we purchased is about 4 miles from the tiny rural city near us and we can get no broad band (we are about a mile from where the cable stops and they wanted $52000 yep fifty two thousand dollars to run the cable). I’ve tried verizon’s mifi (horrible) and everything I read about satellite makes me think it is also horrible.
    I wish I would have thought about all this before we purchased (although I don’t know if it would have changed our minds).
    After being a suburbanite all my life I just took it for granted, i suppose, that broadband is gonna be wherever I go.

  27. dolemite says:

    Now do a map where people have only 1 option for broadband (a monopoly with rising prices). Watch the map fill on up. Also…please don’t include “wireless” as broadband. You are limited to laughable data limits and deal with latency and network outages.

  28. Delicious Spam is delicious says:

    your map sucks. the popups cover the important bits and there isn’t a way to dismiss them.