The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its annual ‘Broadband Deployment Report’, asserting that significant progress was made to bridge the digital divide in 2019. Since the watchdog’s previous report, the number of Americans living in areas without access to at least 25Mbps/3Mbps down/upload speeds (i.e. the FCC’s current benchmark) has dropped from more than 18.1 million at the end of 2018 to fewer than 14.5 million at the end of 2019 – a decrease of more than 20%.
Moreover, more than three-quarters of those in newly served locations – nearly 3.7 million Americans – are located in rural areas, bringing the number of rural Americans in areas served by at least 25Mbps/3Mbps to nearly 83%. Since 2016, the number of Americans living in rural areas lacking access to a 25Mbps/3Mbps service has fallen more than 46%.
Outgoing FCC chairman Ajit Pai commented: ‘From my first day as chairman, the FCC’s top priority has been closing the digital divide. It’s heartening to see these numbers, which demonstrate that we’ve been delivering results for the American people. In just three years, the number of American consumers living in areas without access to fixed broadband at 25Mbps/3Mbps has been nearly cut in half.’