A recent report by the FCC highlights the acute lack of competition in the American broadband market. It also notes a large portion of country – 44 percent – with no Internet providers offering download speeds of at least 100 Mbps. Considering the importance of access to fast Internet, the report’s data serves as a wake-up call to both the federal government and the telecommunications industry.
Let’s look more closely at the report data to see if the expansion of broadband across the country is expected to grow in the near future.
The FCC Internet Access Services Report
The FCC released their latest Internet Access Services report last week. News about its findings appeared in Ars Technica among other sources. The issue of broadband competition in the United States garnered the most publicity, but other interesting data lurks within the report details.
When Internet speeds of 100 Mbps are concerned, 41 percent of country boasts ISPs offering that level of service. Unfortunately, only one Internet provider serves 85 percent of those locations. 15 percent reports more than ISP at that speed, which is higher than the 12 percent noted in the previous FCC report.
What is the Definition of Broadband?
The FCC states that broadband Internet service is defined as a download speed of 25 Mbps with an upload speed of 3 Mbps. FCC commissioner, Jessica Rosenworcel feels this benchmark needs to be raised to 100 Mbps for downstream traffic. The majority of the Ajit Pai-led commission continues to forego that new standard.
When considering the 25 Mbps level, 56 percent of country boasts at least two ISPs offering that Internet speed. This is up from 42 percent in the previous report. So, broadband competition in the country continues to grow, albeit slowly.
Note that the data in the recent FCC report is as of December of 2016. The FCC requires all ISPs to report their broadband competition data on a biannual basis. This is primarily the reason for the year-long reporting delay.
DSL Internet Service more available than Cable and Fiber
When it comes to Internet technologies, DSL still reigns supreme compared to fiber and cable. At least one ISP providing DSL exists in nearly 70 percent of the country. This number compares to 63 percent for cable and 18 percent for fiber. Fixed wireless is available in 25 percent of the country.
The report also notes that Internet customers generally choose the highest available speeds. As such, 62 percent of connections enjoy download speeds of 25 Mbps, while 24 percent connect at 100 Mbps. Even with DSL being more widely available only 13 percent of connections use it, compared to 72 percent for cable.
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