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Only Half of Homes in Continental U.S. Receive 'True' Broadband Internet Access

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A new report from research firm The NPD Group found that just 50% of homes in the continental United States have access to broadband internet with a download speed of 25Mbps or higher. Researchers analyzed a combination of sales data, speed test results, consumer surveys, FCC data and other sources to determine the state of connectivity in America today.

More than one-third of homes (34%) receive internet access at speeds of less than 5Mbps, including 15% that do not have any internet access at all, the researchers found. Among the least connected states are Vermont, West Virginia, New Mexico and Mississippi. To illustrate the gaps in access across the country: Only 24% of homes in Vermont receive true broadband internet speeds, compared to 65% in New Jersey, which is among the most connected states along with Rhode Island, Maryland and California.

"The so-called digital divide is a result of many factors including availability of suitable internet services and the affordability of services that are available in more rural parts of America," commented Eddie Hold, president of NPD Connected Intelligence, in a statement. "But there is potential for this situation to improve relatively quickly, as a result of the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which are providing key subsidies for deploying faster internet services, as well as funding the Affordable Connectivity Program which provides subsidized internet service to lower-income homes."

NPD also found that rural and less connected areas of the U.S. have lower ownership levels of connected devices, compared to non-rural areas. "The lack of higher-speed internet limits the opportunity for newer devices and services, as customers do not have the connectivity needed to generate a satisfactory experience," said Hold. "That has a ripple-on effect for consumer technology, limiting the need for larger, smarter TVs, streaming devices, or even tablets and newer PCs."

A second report focused on technology and streaming adoption across the country is slated for August 2022. For more information, visit the NPD site.

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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