NTCA: Rural broadband growing, getting faster

Aug. 17, 2018
According to an NTCA member survey report regarding rural broadband connectivity, in survey respondents' incumbent serving areas, the ...

According to an NTCA member survey report regarding rural broadband connectivity, in survey respondents' incumbent serving areas, the majority of libraries, public schools and healthcare facilities are connected to fiber networks, and many can now access gigabit speeds.

The maximum connection speed that NTCA members reported making available to K-12 public schools averaged 1 Gbps, with 82% of those schools connected by fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) networks. About 76% of rural hospitals and medical clinics and 64% of libraries were connected by FTTP, with average maximum speeds of 734 Mbps and 500 Mbps, respectively, available to those anchor institutions.

"Small, rural broadband providers have leveraged a mix of community commitment, entrepreneurial spirit, private capital, and critical programs like the FCC's High-Cost Universal Service Fund to bring connectivity to rural America, including these vital public institutions that aid the health, well-being, and education of rural Americans across the country," said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. "This survey shows that many NTCA members have made significant improvements to their networks and continue to prioritize the connectivity needs of key community assets."

More than 100 NTCA members completed the survey, which consisted of questions about available and purchased broadband Internet speeds throughout incumbent service areas, as well as the prevalence of rural anchor institutions and network technologies deployed to connect them.

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