Broadband deployment in the United States – especially in rural areas – is failing to keep pace with today’s voice, data and video offerings, according to the 2015 Broadband Progress Report by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Reflecting advances in technology, market offerings by broadband providers and consumer demand, the US watchdog has updated its broadband benchmark speeds to 25Mbps (downlink) and 3Mbps (uplink). The regulator notes that the 4Mbps/1Mbps standard set in 2010 is ‘dated and inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way’.
Using the updated service benchmark, the 2015 report finds that 55 million Americans – around 17% of the population – lack access to advanced broadband. Moreover, a significant digital divide remains between urban and rural America: over half of all rural Americans lack access to 25Mbps/3Mbps services. Further, the divide was found to be greater still on Tribal lands and in US territories, where nearly two-thirds of residents lack access to the higher speeds.