US Lacking in Broadband Competition

  • Broadband Competition
  • Broadband Penetration
NORTHFIELD, MN — While most U.S. consumers have few broadband choices, those in lower-income states tend to have more broadband competition than residents of higher-income states. Even more surprisingly, states with more competition tend to have lower Internet speeds and lower broadband penetration. These findings come from a new study by data-and-analytics firm ID Insight and industry analyst Craig Settles of Successful.com, who ranked the competitive environment of all 50 states based on market-share distribution analysis of the states’ top 10 broadband providers.

More than 2 million data points in ID Insight’s BroadBand Scout database were used to determine market share in each state and the District of Columbia.  Arkansas was the top-ranked state, followed by North Dakota and South Carolina. Hawaii and Rhode Island ranked 50th and 51st, respectively.

The complete report, including the methodology used, is available at no charge at www.idinsight.com/broadband.asp. According to Settles and ID Insight president Adam Elliott, the data dispels the assumption by some that broadband competition in the United States is robust, and that consumers have many choices. “Because competition continues to be a major point of contention within the broadband industry, we wanted to generate an accurate and, above all, unbiased picture of the competitive landscape,” says Elliott. “The BroadBand Scout database observes usage and carrier information across the country, allowing us to rank states by level of competitiveness, and see how factors
such as population density, percentage of rural versus urban areas, and Internet usage and speeds consumed affect a state’s ranking.”

“The state of competition within the broadband industry continues to be a significant issue, and it’s absolutely critical to utilize objective data to shape the discussion as we move forward,” says Settles. “BroadBand Scout is the first resource to effectively deliver that data, and provides a valuable jumping-off point as we continue this important conversation.”

The authors drew several additional conclusions from their research:

•    There is a strong correlation between income and home value and the level of competiveness in a state. As income and home values show an increase from state to state, the level of competition – as measured by the report – decreases.

•    States with the largest percentage of Internet users and the highest available speed tend to be less competitive.

•    The bulk of broadband stimulus funding did not go to states with the least competitive environments.

Since it launched in December 2009, BroadBand Scout has been providing similar connectivity, speed and carrier data to communities and broadband carriers applying for funding from the $7.2 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband stimulus program, and allowing broadband and wireless carriers to cost-effectively target new areas for service expansion and better research competitors. BroadBand Scout uses a unique analytical survey process of accessing millions of records in ID Insight’s proprietary databases that were initially assembled to track Internet usage activity.


The top 20 most competitive broadband markets were:

1.     Arkansas

2.     North Dakota

3.     South Carolina

4.     Nebraska

5.     California

6.     Alabama

7.     Missouri

8.     Indiana

9.     Texas

10.   Kentucky

11.    West Virginia

12.    Wisconsin

13.    Minnesota

14.    Florida

15.    Montana

16.    Connecticut

17.    North Carolina

18.    South Dakota

19.    Oregon

20.    Michigan

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