FCC report: 34M in US lack access to fixed broadband

More than 30 million Americans still don’t have access to wired, rather than mobile, broadband Internet service, according to a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) report that the agency will consider next week.

It is much more common for Americans in rural areas to lack access to fixed broadband than it is for their urban counterparts. Thirty-nine percent of people in rural areas lack access, as opposed to 4 percent in urban areas. On tribal lands, 41 percent of people do not have access to fixed broadband.

Around 34 million people don’t live in an area where a provider offers fixed broadband with a download speed of 25 Mbps and a 3 Mbps upload speed, amounting to 10 percent of all Americans, according to the 2016 Broadband Progress Report.

Still, the percentage of Americans without access to fixed broadband has fallen from 20 percent in 2012.

The report does not include deployment figures on mobile broadband because the commission has yet to set a benchmark speed for mobile service, despite the fact that some have called for one.

The agency’s five commissioners will consider whether to sign off on the report at its open meeting later this month.

The yearly Broadband Progress Report has been controversial in the past. Last year, the FCC raised its benchmark speeds for fixed broadband to 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps from 4 Mbps and 1 Mbps. The move drew criticism from some Internet service providers who wanted a lower standard for what can be called broadband.