Broadband Spreading, But Not Fast Enough For 34 Million Americans

The Federal Communications Commission’s yearly Broadband Progress Reportshows that faster Internet access is creeping across the U.S., but “is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans.”

Some 34 million in this country still lack access to broadband, the report said, which is defined by the FCC as a 25 megabit connection for download and 3 megabits for upload. And those people mostly live outside the city: 39 percent of the rural population lacks access, compared with just 4 percent in the city. Tribal lands fare similarly, with 41 percent left without broadband connections.

Perhaps most distressingly, 41 percent of schools do not provide the recommended 100 megabits per 1,000 students and staff — leaving nearly half the students in the country to use connections that are increasingly inadequate as learning materials and instructional videos are made available online.

Things are getting better, though. The data, collected in 2014, show significant jumps in connectivity over the previous year, and those improvements appear to be accelerating.