FCC: Digital Divide Is Closing

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The FCC says the digital divide is closing and broadband competition is growing. The agency’s Office of Economics and Analytics Thursday released updated data.

Specifically, the new information shows that from December 2016 to December 2018, the number of Americans without any options for at least 250/25 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service plummeted by 74 percent, from 181.7 million to 47 million.

During that same period, the number of Americans with no options for at least 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service fell by 30 percent, from 26.1 million to 18.3 million.  

The data also showed an increase in competition from December 2016 to December 2018, with the number of consumers enjoying more than two options for 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service increasing by 52 percent, from 45.9 million to 69.8 million. Moreover, the number of rural Americans with two or more options for 25/3 Mbps fixed terrestrial broadband service increased by 52 percent, from 14.4 million to 22 million.  

Closing the digital divide has been Chairman Ajit Pai’s top priority. The figures show the agency is on the right track; however, “our work is not done. That’s why we’ll continue our focus on eliminating regulatory barriers to broadband deployment and reforming our universal service funding programs, such as through the implementation of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund,” said Pai. 

The updated data includes fixed and mobile broadband deployment and speeds as of December 31, 2018. Access the data here.  

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