FCC: 'Digital divide' narrowing

April 27, 2020
According to the FCC, the "digital divide" is continuing to close, with the number of Americans lacking access to fixed broadband service declining 30% during 2017 and 2018 ...

According to the FCC, the "digital divide" is continuing to close, with the number of Americans lacking access to fixed broadband service declining 30% during 2017 and 2018.

The FCC released its annual Broadband Deployment Report, which indicated the number of Americans lacking access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 25/3 Mbps continued to decline, going down by more than 14% in 2018 and more than 30% over the course of 2017 and 2018. The number of Americans without access to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile broadband with a median speed of 10/3 Mbps based on Ookla data declined approximately 54% between 2017 and 2018. And more than 85% of Americans now have access to fixed terrestrial broadband service at 250/25 Mbps, a 47% increase since 2017, with the number of rural Americans having access to 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service more than tripling between 2016 and 2018.

"Under my leadership, the FCC's top priority is to close the digital divide, and I'm proud of the progress that we have made," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. "From 2016 to 2018, the number of Americans without access to 25/3 Mbps fixed broadband service fell by more than 30%. And in 2018 and 2019, the United States set consecutive records for new fiber deployment, with the number of homes passed by fiber increasing by 5.9 million and 6.5 million, respectively. Having grown up in rural Kansas, I have a deep commitment to expanding broadband to all corners of the country. That's why we've taken aggressive steps to remove regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and reform our Universal Service Fund programs. But despite these gains, the job isn't done - we'll continue our work until all Americans have access to digital opportunity. In particular, I look forward to commencing Phase I of our Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction in October, which will bring high-speed broadband to millions of currently unserved Americans."

The progress has been fueled in part by the broadband industry's approximately $80 billion investment in network infrastructure in 2018, the highest annual amount in at least the last decade. In 2019 alone, fiber broadband networks became available to roughly 6.5 million additional homes, the largest one-year increase ever, with smaller providers accounting for 25% of those new fiber connections.        

Sponsored Recommendations

Coherent Routing and Optical Transport – Getting Under the Covers

April 11, 2024
Join us as we delve into the symbiotic relationship between IPoDWDM and cutting-edge optical transport innovations, revolutionizing the landscape of data transmission.

Data Center Network Advances

April 2, 2024
Lightwave’s latest on-topic eBook, which AFL and Henkel sponsor, will address advances in data center technology. The eBook looks at various topics, ranging...

Supporting 5G with Fiber

April 12, 2023
Network operators continue their 5G coverage expansion – which means they also continue to roll out fiber to support such initiatives. The articles in this Lightwave On ...

FTTx Deployment Strategies

March 29, 2023
Cable operators continue to deploy fiber in their networks at anincreasing rate. As fiber grows in importance, proper choices regardinghow to best fit fiber to the home together...