COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of high-speed internet access for remote workers and students learning online, but not all areas offer equal access to the interwebs.
High-speed internet connectivity is the digital lifeblood of remote workers and people learning online, but not all areas of the globe offer equal access to the interwebs. Earlier this year, highspeedinternet.com released a report detailing the fastest and slowest internet speeds based on state-by-state connectivity stats. So, which state has the snappiest internet speeds and where are people most likely to be booted from the Zoom Room?
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Fastest and slowest internet speeds in the U.S.
"The switch to remote work and online learning has really opened up the conversation surrounding internet access in America," said Laura Leininger, a staff researcher at highspeedinternet.com. "Because there is such a difference in internet access between rural and urban states, the pandemic has added additional stress to Americans who are forced to make due with laggy internet and slow download speeds."
Overall, Rhode Island topped the list in terms of mean download speed at 129.0 Mbps, with New Jersey (120.4 Mbps), Delaware (119.1 Mbps), Maryland (118.2 Mbps), and Washington, D.C. (117.7 Mbps) rounding out the top five. In order, Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, California and New York complete the top 10, according to highspeedinternet.com.
On the flip side, Montana sits at the very bottom of the list as the slowest state in the U.S. for connectivity with a mean download speed of 54.4 Mbps, followed by West Virginia (55.2 Mbps), Idaho (55.4 Mbps) Maine (56.3 Mbps) and Wyoming (60 Mbps).
"The difference in average internet speed between the fastest state, Rhode Island (129.0 Mbps), and the slowest state, Montana (54.4 Mbps) is drastic, which definitely plays a role in how slower internet states are able to cope with the long-lasting pandemic," Leininger said.
Top cities for internet connectivity
A separate highspeedinternet.com report takes a more granular look at connectivity data and ranks the best and worst cities for internet access. In this roundup, Washington, D.C., claims the top spot for mean average speed ranking among U.S. metro areas, followed by Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York City and Boston in order. Conversely, Charleston, West Virginia, Boise, Idaho, Toledo, Ohio, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Scranton, Pennsylvania ranked as the areas with the slowest internet connectivity.
The digital divide: Gaps in connectivity
The digital divide across the U.S has been highlighted during COVID-19 as companies and schools switched to remote operations over the last year and a half. Overall, the FCC said that "fewer than 14.5 million" people in the U.S. "Americans without access to 25/3 Mbps broadband service" at the end of December 2019, down from 18.1 million at the end of the previous year, according to the commissions Broadband Deployment Report released in January.
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