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Broadband still slow in rural America

A new report from the broadband systems and software provider Calix reveals that rural communities still lag behind - sometimes far behind - the national average for broadband speeds.

Calix compared speeds to the goals set out by the FCC's Connect America Fund and found that, "...more than 70 percent of rural broadband subscribers are receiving service below the 4 Mbps downstream target of the Connect America Fund (CAF), while over 90 percent are experiencing upstream speeds lower than the CAF's target of 1 Mbps."

One article examined the Calix findings and compared them to Akamai's "State of the Internet" report. Where 60 percent of rural users received maximum downstream broadband speeds of 3 Mbps or less, the national average was approximately twice that at 5.8. Moreover, some carriers in metropolitan areas are offering advertised speeds of up to 50 Mbps - something virtually unavailable to rural customers.

Calix investigated other aspects of national broadband use and discovered unexpected regional differences. For instance:

  • In the West, video streaming traffic was 15 percent above the U.S. upstream average.
  • Social media remains strong in the Midwest with usage 19 percent above the U.S. upstream average.
  • Online shopping continued to fare well in the Northeast with usage of 46 percent above the U.S. upstream average.

Speed Matters urges carriers and governments to adopt policies that allow rural broadband users access to service that is reasonably comparable to that available to other Americans.

Broadband users can reliably test their speeds by going to the Speedmatters.org and using the speed test.

Links:

Calix Expands View into Broadband Usage in Rural America with New Report (Calix, Jul., 2012)

Calix: 60% of Rural Subscribers Receive 3 Mbps or Less (telecompetitor.com, Jul. 12, 2012)

Akamai Releases Fourth Quarter 2011 'State of the Internet' Report (Akamai, Apr. 30, 2012)

Q1 2012 Calix U.S. Rural Broadband Report
(Calix, Jul. 2012)

Speed Matters speed test

Category: Rural Communities, High Speed, Universality, Digital Divide, Discrimination, Research Reports