How Connected is Your Community?

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As telecommunications policy expert Susan Crawford pointed out to Bill, over the past decade, America has fallen behind many other wealthy countries in access to high-speed Internet. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently ranked America 15th internationally, with broadband available to only 68.2 percent of households. Compare that with 87 percent in Iceland or 97.5 in Korea. Our slower Internet is also more expensive than in other parts of the world.

According to a report from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a certain amount of America’s lack of high-speed Internet can be attributed to population density. America is far more spread out than, say, Korea, and faster connections are possible when the length of the wires from the phone company to your home is shorter. But that’s not the full story — in Canada, a country far less dense than the US, 72.2 percent of households have broadband.

The National Broadband Map is a tool to search, analyze and map broadband availability across the United States. The colored portions of the map indicates Internet speed rates of at least 768 kbps.

Across America, access to high-speed Internet varies tremendously — even within a single community — an issue several federal communications commissioners have committed themselves to addressing.

Where does your community fall within the spectrum of connectivity? The National Broadband Map can tell you (click “Explore the Maps”).

Before exploring the data, you can test your own connection speed using the FCC’s quality test. The New York City-based Moyers & Company Web team gets about 10 mbps, if you’re interested.

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  • proletariatprincess

    I live in the SF Bay Area. I was born in Silicon Valley. It is shameful how bad the WiiFi service is in the birthplace of the Internet.

  • Theodora Crawford

    East vs West! What’s going on?

  • Jibreel Riley

    I’m from one of the 1st regions with electricity in the world so this isn’t anything new

  • Anonymous

    Just as the 50’s produced the interstate highway system, we now need to build our Internet infrastructure to span the entire US. Failure to do so relegates large portions of the nation to becoming a backwater for the jobs of the future.

  • Andrea Burniske

    how is it that the midwest is so much more connected than the NW?

  • Bob V.

    Living in a rural environment you are forgotten by the telecoms and any other IP. Sat service is about it, for price.

  • Wm. Sweeney

    Population density

  • socialmedic


  • Socialmedic

    There is a problem with supply and demand in that supply often fails to occur where it is most needed.

  • Charmin

    In Sweden and South Korea a land line is not required to get internet. That would save US consumers a great deal. In 2004, in rural S. Korea I was paying less than 15 dollars a month for high speed internet. In 2005 in Rural Missouri, I paid 70 dollar a month for the required phone line and another 80 for a dial up connection. In Sweden I have 300kbs for about 45 dollars

  • The Truthlady

    Thanks for showing me where I can go and fall under the radar and get away from it all!

  • Geoffrey Brown

    The test won’t even start for me! It beeps and then goes back to the “start” screen immediately. I suspect that this means that ATT is delivering such slow access that the test cannot even measure it.

  • SladeG

    Corporate profits above all else!

  • Steven Alberts

    one of the best ever, great humanitarian!!! Mr. Bill Moyers

  • Dean Smith

    Interesting sharp line between Indiana and Illinois.

  • Anonymous

    My part of NE Ohio is “third world.” We just got 20mbps DS/1.5mbps US this past January. Much of the US is well behind Europe and Asia.

  • MJBragg75

    The “FCC Quality Test” above seems WAY off base. Tonight in three tries it gave me download scores between 440 and 470 kbps. Snail pace! I went over to my standard test at, and reconfirmed things were OK at 62 MBps (100 times faster), which is born out by the speed with which I routinely download. Sure hope FCC isn’t using the results! Also, be very afraid if you hear FCC raising the Broadband over Power Lines (BPL) technology again. Destroys other uses of shortwave radio, like what we folks in the hobby of amateur radio depend on. See:

  • Richard P. McDonough

    Will better broadband coverage make Wyoming any more sensible??

  • Diane G

    I can’t even get the test! And I’m paying $42 a month – for what? 8 years ago I was in the Amazonia area of Venezuela (a tiny village in the middle of the vast rainforest accessed only by bush planes or boats). Anyway, Chavez made sure those people had free access to the Internet and computers in their rec center!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t we pay special telecommunications and broadband taxes for the build out of high speed internet and other services to rural areas? Why aren’t those taxes being used for this purpose?

  • Sean Folsom

    The US Communications Companies collect all this Money and the Money they are supposed to spend on upgrades to our infrastructure are diverted to profits, first for the CEOs and second the Shareholders. The Public comes in a very distant 3rd place. The most recent David Cay Johnston book “The Fine Print” (2012) gets into the details. Give it a Read Dear People !!!

  • Trey Pollard

    The FCC just told the ARRL to stick it with regard to BPL. What I don’t understand is how they justify this ruling knowing that part 15 devices have to accept interference without legal recourse, but our licensed service legally does not.
    …and yet we are the ones having to accept the interference. Go figure.
    Seems like they do not wish to follow their own rules.

  • Matt Meskill

    Compare it to a map showing population density.

  • Bob Muenchausen

    The difference is that we believe in profits and double digit shareholder dividends more than developing infrastructure. I have watched for 30+ yrs as industry after industry has been taken over by this mentality to the detriment of our ability to support the future. We are essentially living on the margins of what our parents and grandparents built to create the environment of the 20th Century, but we have been too busy lining our pockets with what should have been reinvestment for the 21st Century so that we could live the high life today. It used to be “Progress is our most important product” – today, it is, “Profit is our most important progress”.

  • Chuck Dineen

    Instead of dismantling the Post Office, it should be tasked with providing a high speed fiber optic infra structure from sea to shinning sea. That would be in keeping with their constitutional mandate. The constitution does not mandate giving the task to the likes of ATT,Verizon,Comcast, or any other vultures. “Free Enterprise” is choking us and preventing liberty and justice for all.

  • Colandrio

    Hear Hear! I live on the lost coast of Southern Oregon where internet service by Frontier is a joke. As they raise the cost, the service gets slower. Go figure.

  • indy anna

    Did you ever hear of the option of the only internet service that I can get is a freaking line of sight signal off of a stupid Farmers grain elevator. I cannot even get satellite. Honest to gog. I cannot even get satellite. I have a good TV signal from both Dish and Direct TV but they cannot offer me satellite.

  • Anonymous

    That map cannot possibly be correct.

  • Julia Oceania

    I am feeling pretty blessed to live with broadband, and have the best server in my area

  • Jo Clark

    I have the same problem here in east Texas. The only one available is a line of sight tower up on a hill, which is fine…….in the wintertime when there are no leaves on the trees. Now, the leaves are back. I just spent 45 minutes uploading a 75 kb file, yes, a75 kb file. It’s absurd that I should actually have to think about selling a house and moving to a bigger town just to get freaking internet.

  • Wisconsin Al

    I live on a road that’s maybe half a mile long. High speed service comes up one third of the way on the other end of it. High speed service exists along the highway my road intersects with. A fiber optic cables main line was laid underground through the farm many years ago, but now the providers will not extend service to me. If we were instead talking of electrification, I’d be cleaning kerosene lamps every morning yet. This is crazy. Do I live in a remote part of Wisconsin? No. I live a 30-minute drive from Madison.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, that statement makes perfect sense. Maybe we should move Wyoming to Chicago.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, we’ve been paying those fees and taxes for years and have not gotten any return.

  • Patrick Buick

    I haven’t been keeping up on the BPL attempts and I realize the comment is a year old. If people keep trying to bury amateur radio, I sure hope that those same people (and others) don’t expect us to be able to come to the rescue when disaster strikes. On the other hand, with the infrastructure down, those that still have and use their rigs (with emergency power sources) won’t have to contend with the interference because the sources won’t have power! I wonder how this fits with the new smart meter fire-starters with their apparently higher-power WiFi?

  • Patrick Buick

    For everyone that is complaining about shareholder dividends and growth, I’m wondering how willing *YOU* are to put up *YOUR* money for someone else to use to build a business and expect small or no return, possibly even losses to “serve the public”? Don’t forget that this includes pension funds, mutual funds and all those other retirement strategies, oh and that it is the underpinnings of capitalism as well. I don’t invest my money out of goodwill. When I invest, I expect a return, a decent return, I *do* however expect the companies I invest in to act in a moral manner in making the profit. Otherwise, I consider voting with my investment against such management. This isn’t a very tough concept to grasp.