2019 Broadband Deployment Report

The Federal Communications Commission is charged with “encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability to all Americans,” by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market. For the past two years, the FCC has taken up the mantle; it has made closing the digital divide between Americans with, and without, access to modern broadband networks its top priority. The FCC remains committed to ensuring that all Americans, including those in rural areas, Tribal lands, and disaster-affected areas, have the benefits of a high-speed broadband connection. As a result of those efforts, the digital divide has narrowed substantially, and more Americans than ever before have access to high-speed broadband.

In the time since the FCC’s last Broadband Deployment Report, the number of Americans lacking a connection of at least 25 Mbps/3 Mbps (the current benchmark) has dropped from 26.1 million Americans at the end of 2016 to 21.3 million Americans at the end of 2017, a decrease of more than 18%. Moreover, the majority of those gaining access to such connections, approximately 4.3 million, are located in rural America. Higher-speed services are being deployed at a rapid rate as well. For example, the number of Americans with access to at least 250 Mbps/25 Mbps broadband grew in 2017 by more than 36%, to 191.5 million. And the number of rural Americans with access to such broadband increased by 85.1% in 2017. 3. Other data beyond the data underlying the Broadband Data Report illustrates industry’s response to the FCC’s actions promoting broadband deployment. During 2018, for example, broadband providers, both small and large, deployed fiber networks to 5.9 million new homes, the largest number ever recorded. Also, capital expenditures by broadband providers increased in 2017, reversing declines that occurred in both 2015 and 2016.

With this evidence, the FCC finds, for a second consecutive year, that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis. 

2019 Broadband Deployment Report Press release