FCC REPORT: Digital Divide Continuing to Close


  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission released its annual Broadband Deployment Report, which revealed the number of Americans lacking access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 25/3 Mbps continued to decline, going down by more than 14% in 2018. The number of Americans without access to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband with a median speed of 10/3 Mbps based on Ookla data declined approximately 54% between 2017 and 2018. And the vast majority of Americans—more than 85%—now have access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 250/25 Mbps, a 47% increase since 2017, with the number of rural Americans having access to 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service more than tripling between 2016 and 2018.

This progress has been fueled in part by the broadband industry’s approximately $80 billion investment in network infrastructure in 2018, the highest annual amount in at least the last decade. In 2019 alone, fiber broadband networks became available to roughly 6.5 million additional homes, the largest one-year increase ever, with smaller providers accounting for 25% of these new fiber connections.

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires that the FCC determine annually whether advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans “in a reasonable and timely fashion.” Given the compelling evidence, the report finds for the third consecutive year that advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed on a reasonable and timely basis. The Commission will continue its efforts to ensure that all Americans have the ability to access broadband. 


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