Two Thirds of US Doesn’t Meet New Broadband Minimum Per FCC

Posted by at 7:45 pm on December 11, 2010

The FCC in a new study (PDF) published this week revealed that over two thirds of US broadband Internet access doesn’t meet its newer broadband standards. About 68 percent of connections measured at the end of 2009 were below the 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds that qualify for the term. A full 58 percent didn’t make 3Mbps downstream, and nearly half at 49 percent couldn’t meet at least a 768Kbps upload rate.

Only 30 percent of download speeds could be considered relatively good, at 6Mbps or more, and 12 percent could manage 1.5Mbps uploads or better. The data also revealed that 3G and 4G Internet access was actually the most widespread by type at 39.4 percent, although cable Internet access was almost always the choice for faster access as it made up 70 percent of connections over 3Mbps. ADSL and cable Internet access reached 23.3 percent and 32.4 percent.

Lack of competition also became evident in the study.   About 58 percent of people had three wired or wireless providers to choose from that could manage at least 3Mbps down and 200Kbps up, but that competition was almost entirely eroded once looking at genuinely fast connections with at least 6Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up. In those conditions, 97 percent of users had only one or two carriers at most to choose from.

Expansion of faster 3G, 4G and fiber optic services is likely to improve the situation, but the figures at least partly support the National Broadband Plan, which would call for 100 million homes to get 100Mbps or better access by 2020. The discoveries also stress the importance of rural coverage as many of the slowest areas are often rural areas that providers either can’t or refuse to service due to the cost of running wires versus the expected return.

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