FCC: Rural areas still lag in broadband speeds

Many rural areas don't have access to 3 Mbps broadband service, two agencies say

More than 28 percent of the rural population in the U.S. lack access to midrange 3Mbps broadband service, according to a new report from two U.S. agencies.

The rural broadband report, released Tuesday by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, shows large gaps in broadband service between rural areas and urban and suburban areas.

The gaps appear to be closing, but many rural residents "still lack access to the kind of broadband that most Americans take for granted," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "That is not acceptable, and it's why the FCC has launched major initiatives to overhaul our universal service system, free more spectrum, and reduce barriers to broadband deployment. These efforts will help ensure that high-speed Internet can connect rural communities to global markets, jobs, and world-class education and health care."

About 26.2 million U.S. residents don't have access to 3Mbps service, with nearly 73 percent of them living in rural areas, the report said.

Broadband is important to rural businesses and residents, Genachowski said. "In America's small towns, just as in its large cities, broadband is vital to economic growth, to job creation, to entrepreneurship and the success of small businesses, and to education and healthcare," he said.

The report shows the need for rural broadband programs to continue, added Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of the USDA's Rural Utilities Service.

In Indiana, nearly 28 percent of the state's 4.6 million urban and suburban residents have no access to 6Mbps service, according to the report. But nearly 63 percent of the state's 1.8 million residents lack access to the same service.

In Minnesota, just 2 percent of the state's 3.7 million urban and suburban residents don't have access to 6Mbps service, while nearly 57 percent of its 1.6 million rural residents lack access to those speeds.

The FCC's national broadband plan, released in March 2010, sets a goal of delivering 100Mbps service to 100 million U.S. homes by 2020.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed by Congress in early 2009, included more than US$7 billion for broadband deployment across the U.S. Many of those projects are in development.

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is grant_gross@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags telecommunicationJonathan AdelsteinJulius GenachowskiregulationU.S. Federal Communications CommissionU.S. Department of Agriculturegovernmentbroadband

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?