If you're feeling smug about your fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connection that costs you next to nothing (at least per Mbps), enjoy it, hotshot. You're amid the lucky few.
BroadbandNow examined the state of United States broadband availability with a deep look into publicly available figures from 2,000 ISPs with low-cost plans, using info limited to the final three months of 2018. It looked at the data on the state, local (ZIP code), and economic level. The initial bullet points are alarming and should make every broadband ISP feel intense, burning shame.
According to BroadbandNow's research, 146 million US citizens—approximately 45 percent—can barely get a low-priced wired broadband plan, not even some simple copper-line DSL (which is simple but not cheap). If you're lucky enough to get fiber, you're probably paying the lowest cost, at least per Mbps—only 48 cents on average, compared with DSL, which averages $1.53 per Mbps!
The states with lower median household incomes (below $60,000 per year) have lower-priced plans for only 37 percent of citizens. Higher-income states have 78 percent coverage with lower-priced broadband. Ridiculous.
The report includes interactive charts you can zoom in and out of using the scrollbars. It shows, for example, that while the average of low-priced fiber coverage in the US is only 16.6 percent, the state with the most fiber coverage is Rhode Island at 84.8 percent. The most low-priced cable coverage is in Maryland at 88.8 percent (compared to the US average of 43.1 percent).
The lowest-cost DSL available is in Ohio, but it covers only 10.1 percent of households, against a national average of 2.1 percent. So let's stop talking about DSL—obviously, the ISPs don't care to provide it, even if they do charge much more for it.
The lowest prices per Mbps are, again, almost all fiber-based. The national average is 48 cents per. One state beats that with cable: Texas cable prices are as low as 12 cents per Mbps. The most expensive cable is in Wyoming ($1 per Mbps) and the most expensive fiber is in New Hampshire ($2 per Mbps).
Finally, median household income is the ultimate measure of the digital divide. The red line above is the regression line and confidence interval that shows that previously mentioned 78 percent of low-priced plans are in states with a median income of $60K plus. More than half the states have median incomes less than $60K, and you can see in the lower left, a huge number of them lack for low-priced broadband.
Head to the full report to enter your own ZIP code to see where your location falls.
A quick FYI on how BroadbandNow defined its terms here: It went by still-in-effect, Obama-era FCC rules for what constitutes wired broadband, meaning it only counted providers offering a 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speed. It did not include mobile connections in the results. For pricing, it measured only "plans with prices less than or equal to the 20th percentile of all qualifying broadband plan prices within a given technology."