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FCC Releases New Data Showing Close of Digital Divide

2019 Broadband Deployment Data Show Digital Divide Is Closing

Gains for Rural Americans Across the Country

The Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Economics and Analytics today released data showing that the digital divide is closing.  At the end of 2019, the number of Americans living in areas without access to terrestrial fixed broadband with speeds of at least 25/3 Mbps—the Commission’s benchmark for high-speed broadband—fell to 14.5 million, a 46% decrease from the end of 2016.  Services at higher speeds saw even more significant deployment, with the number of Americans living in areas without broadband speeds of at least 250/25 Mbps falling by 77% since the end of 2016.  During that three-year period, the number of rural Americans living in areas with 250/25 Mbps broadband service increased by 268%.

“My top priority since becoming FCC Chairman has been closing the digital divide, and I’m proud that this new deployment data show that we are delivering on that promise for the American people,” said Chairman Pai.  “In just three years, the number of American consumers living in areas without access to fixed broadband has been almost cut in half.  We’ve taken aggressive steps to achieve this progress, modernizing regulations, freeing up new licensed and unlicensed spectrum, and making it easier and cheaper for competitive providers to deploy fiber through our ‘one-touch make ready’ policy.  And we have kicked off the first phase of the $20.4 billion Rural Digital Opportunity Fund auction, which could bring broadband to as many as 10.25 million unserved Americans across rural America.  Bottom line:  We will continue our work until all Americans have access to digital opportunity.”

The updated broadband deployment data, based on the FCC’s Form 477 filings, includes fixed terrestrial (including fixed wireless) and mobile broadband deployment at speeds ranging from 10/1 Mbps to 250/25 Mbps. Fixed broadband deployment data are available at https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477 and can be viewed on the National Broadband Map at https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov.  Mobile deployment data are available at https://www.fcc.gov/mobile-deployment-form-477-data.  The Commission will continue its efforts to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality broadband. 

Source: FCC media announcement

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