Large communities in the US are being left out of the quest for faster internet. A FCC broadband fact sheet released yesterday indicates that approximately 34 million Americans, or 10 percent of the US population, lack access to the agency’s benchmark speeds of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. People living on tribal lands and in rural areas are the populations most likely to be lacking modern internet speeds with 39 percent of rural populations and 41 percent of people on tribal lands not having access to fixed broadband. Even this relatively high percentage marks an improvement, however. Two years ago, 20 percent of the US population lacked access to these higher speeds, and last year, 17 percent did.
The FCC changed its definition of broadband in January 2015 when it upped its minimum download and upload speeds. The agency says it plans to continue pushing for the entire US population to have access to the new standard speeds. That being said, the FCC doesn’t yet have a benchmark for mobile broadband, but it noted in its recent release that consumers need high speeds on their mobile devices, as well. These findings will be discussed at the agency’s annual open meeting later this month.