Draft FCC Broadband Report: Digital Divide Is Narrowing Substantially
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has circulated the draft 2019 Broadband Deployment Report, a report that concludes that the digital divide between Americans with and without access to modern broadband networks has narrowed substantially. The report shows that since the 2018 report, the number of Americans lacking access to a fixed broadband connection meeting the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25 Mbps/3 Mbps has dropped by over 25%, from 26.1 million Americans at the end of 2016 to 19.4 million at the end of 2017. Moreover, the majority of those gaining access to such high-speed connections, approximately 5.6 million, live in rural America, where broadband deployment has traditionally lagged. The private sector has responded to FCC reforms by deploying fiber to 5.9 million new homes in 2018, the largest number ever recorded. And overall, capital expenditures by broadband providers increased in 2017, reversing declines that occurred in both 2015 and 2016. Other key findings of the report include the following, based on data through the end of 2017:
- The number of Americans with access to 100 Mbps/10Mpbs fixed broadband increased by nearly 20%, from 244.3 million to 290.9 million.
- The number of Americans with access to 250 Mbps/50 Mbps fixed broadband grew by over 45%, to 205.2 million, and the number of rural Americans with access to such service more than doubled
Based on these and other data, the report concludes that advanced telecommunications services – broadband – is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis.
Draft FCC Broadband Report: Digital Divide Is Narrowing Substantially Ajit Pai says broadband access is soaring—and that he’s the one to thank (ars technica)