Data & Mapping
The Open Technology Institute's latest study of the price of internet service, The Cost of Connectivity 2020, finds substantial evidence of an affordability crisis in the United States. From service plans that meet the current Federal Communications Commission definition for broadband at 25/3 Mbps to bigger, bolder standards, U.S. consumers pay more for monthly internet prices on average than European consumers based on advertised metrics. And, perhaps just as importantly, U.S.
On the Wrong Side of the Digital Divide: Life Without Internet Access And Why We Must Fix It In the Age of COVID-19
Prior to the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, Greenlining asked residents of two California communities, Fresno and Oakland, to share their struggles with internet access and found these common themes, all of which have been made more urgent by the pandemic: 1) Internet access is not a luxury, 2) Lack of access creates significant hurdles for everyday life, 3) Smartphone access is insufficient, 4) Internet plans designed for low-income families are inadequate, 5) Lack of access is a barrier to academic success.
Total Internet connections increased by about 4.9% between December 2017 and December 2018 to 441 million. Mobile Internet connections increased 5.7% year-over-year to 331 million in December 2018, while fixed connections grew to 111 million – up about 2.5% from December 2017. Over 54% of connections were at 100 Mbps or more (downstream). Nearly 75% of connections were 25 Mbps or more. The median downstream speed of all reported fixed connections was 100 Mbps.
Total Internet connections increased by about 4.9% between June 2017 and June 2018 to 429 million. Mobile Internet connections increased 5.7% year-over-year to 320 million in June 2018, while fixed connections grew to 109 million – up about 2.8% from June 2017. Nearly 48% of connections were at 100 Mbps or more (downstream). Over 73% of connections were 25 Mbps or more. The percentage of fixed connections with a downstream speed of at least 25 Mbps has grown from 50% (or 50 million connections) in June 2015 to 74% (or 80 million connections) in June 2018.
NCTA – the Internet & Television Association, in partnership with EducationSuperHighway (ESH), announced a new initiative to help increase home connectivity solutions for students, as many schools adapt to remote and hybrid learning classrooms amid the coronavirus pandemic. The K-12 Bridge to Broadband initiative will scale innovative solutions that are helping public school districts and states identify and potentially connect students in low-income families, enabling more students to participate in remote or hybrid learning.
The Western Governor’s Association (WGA) represents all of the states west of the line starting with Texas north to North Dakota, includes Alaska, Hawaii, and the western American territories. In July, the WGA issued a policy position paper that lays forth goals for broadband for 2020 through 2028.
Our networks still don’t reach everyone, and private dollars alone won’t solve this challenge. Our country needs to close that gap, and now is the time for legislators and policymakers to act to ensure the educational and economic success of all Americans by making broadband connectivity more accessible, affordable and sustainable. Market forces and private companies can’t do it alone because of the lack of return on the significant investment necessary to reach all Americans.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai touted inaccurate broadband-availability data in order to claim that his deregulatory agenda sped up deployment despite clear warning signs that the FCC was relying on false information.
FCC Proposes $163.9K Fine Against BarrierFree for Reporting Overstated Service Data in Form 477 Filings
The Federal Communications Commission proposed a $163,912 fine, the maximum amount allowed by law, against Internet service provider Barrier Communications Corporation d/b/a BarrierFree for apparently reporting inaccurate information that significantly inflated its broadband subscription numbers, failing to file required deployment data, making false statements to FCC investigators, and failing to respond to other inquiries.
Wyoming internet users have benefited the most from higher broadband speeds during the months of the pandemic, with average download speeds increasing by a whopping 52%. This is likely a result of a statewide push by the Wyoming Broadband Council to improve internet connectivity and speeds to underserved rural populations. Similar state-sponsored initiatives seem to have contributed to speed improvements elsewhere.