America's digital divide, in 2 maps

Both maps illustrate just what a patchwork broadband access remains in the United States, with well-connected areas right next to disconnected areas. Overall, more than 30 percent of rural America still lacks access to what the Federal Communications Commission considers adequate broadband. That’s a stark contrast from urban areas, where only 2.1 percent lack this connectivity.

What's more, the FCC acknowledges its maps understate the urban-rural digital divide. If just a single household in a census block receives service, the FCC considers the whole census block "served." There's even a debate over what should count as coverage; some providers receiving federal subsidies to extend broadband to rural areas only need to reach speeds of 10 Mbps, which means even after spending millions to bring broadband to some of these areas, the service won't hit the commission's own speed standard.


America's digital divide, in 2 maps