FCC: 19M Americans Lack Access to Broadband

  • Broadband Penetration
WASHINGTON, DC – Though the United States has made progress in expanding high-speed Internet access, broadband is still unavailable to approximately 19 million Americans, according to the FCC’s Eighth Broadband Progress Report.

The FCC is required by law to report annually on whether broadband “is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” The report chronicles major strides by providers and policymakers to accelerate deployment, including:

- Billions invested by the communications industry in broadband deployment, including next-generation wired and wireless services
- Expansion of networks capable of 100 Mbps-plus speeds to more than 80 percent of the U.S. population through cable’s DOCSIS 3.0 rollout
- LTE deployment by mobile operators
- Sweeping reforms by the FCC to its universal service programs
- Action under the FCC’s Broadband Acceleration Initiative to reduce the cost and time required
for deployment
- Steps to expand availability of wireless spectrum for broadband.

Still, the report finds that approximately 19 million Americans — 6 percent of the population — lack access to fixed broadband service at threshold speeds. In rural areas, nearly one-fourth of the population — 14.5 million people — lack access to this service. In tribal areas, nearly one-third of the population lack access.

Even where broadband is available, approximately 100 million Americans still do not subscribe - and given the lack of access together with the lack of adoption, the FCC concludes that "broadband is not yet being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion."

The FCC issued a Notice of Inquiry today that seeks public input for the next annual report. Because higher-speed broadband is increasingly available and market offerings continue to change, the Notice of Inquiry explores how to keep the broadband report up-to-date, including further examining the role of mobile services and next-generation, high-speed services in the FCC’s next annual evaluation of broadband availability.


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