While average broadband speeds may be increasing in the USA; as is the case in Australia, rollout leaves a bit to be desired says the FCC.
A fact sheet (PDF) from the Federal Communications Commission indicates 34 million Americans still don’t have access to fixed broadband at the FCC’s benchmark speed of 25 Mbps for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. That’s around 10% of the US population.
Not surprising is the city vs country digital divide. In rural areas, 39 percent of the population don’t have access to any sort of fixed broadband.
Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to gauge if advanced telecommunications capability, which includes broadband, is being deployed to all Americans in a “reasonable and timely fashion.”
As the FCC appears to have determined this not to be the case, it’s required to take immediate action to remedy the issue. What form new actions will take remains to be seen.
The fact sheet is only part of a draft of a full report, which has been circulated by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to various parties in the FCC for comment. The entire report will be released after an FCC vote towards the end of this month.
Some US states appear to be poised to blast ahead of others – on Friday, New York State’s Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new USD $1 billion public-private partnership to rollout access to high-speed broadband to the entire state, with at least 100 Mbps of service by the end of 2018 and 300 Mbps by the end of 2019.
The situation in the US still appears to be far better than in Australia. According to a recent report from Akamai, even if Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) rollout is completed by 2020, only 38% of Australian homes are expected to have access at speeds of 25 Mbps to 500 Mbps.
However, Akamai may not be taking into account the impact of some of the new players to arrive on the scene might have – ISP’s that can deliver high-speed broadband to homes and businesses without a NBN connection being required. An example is Lightning Broadband, which can offer up to 1,000 Mbps symmetrical, low or no contention services through clever engineering and fibre and/or hybrid wireless/fibre broadband technology.