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Report Identifies States with Lowest Broadband Penetrations

Randy Sukow / Aug 6, 2019

Less than 30 percent of residents in the state of North Dakota subscribe to an Internet service delivering 25 Mbps or more downstream, according to a recent report by The NPD Group, a Port Washington, NY, research and consulting firm. The report finds that between 30 and 40 percent of South Dakota, Mississippi and Alabama residents subscribe to broadband services, while between 40 and 50 percent subscribe in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Nationwide, the report estimates that 31 percent of U.S. consumers, or about 100 million, do not have a 25 Mbps connection. States with large rural populations are the most likely to lack connectivity.

“The so-called digital divide can be clearly felt in rural markets where the lack of broadband impacts everything from entertainment to the educational system,” said NPD Connected Intelligence President Eddie Hold in a press release. “And even the state level data masks the underlying reality that in the most rural markets in America, less than 20 percent of households have a broadband connection.”

The NPD report differs from reports based on data from FCC Form 477. The FCC data measures availability rather than penetration. Form 477 reports have estimated the availability percentage in the high 90s nationwide, but agreement about the unreliability of the Form 477 process led the Commission to order a change in the measuring process last week.

While the FCC bases its data on direct data reports from ISPs, NPS says its methodology relies on “a combination of sales data, mobile phone activation data, broadband adoption data, consumer survey information, and in-person interviews.”

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