While equality may be a central tenet of life in the U.S., it certainly doesn't manifest itself in the form of our access to the internet.
It may be a central tenet of our democracy, but it doesn’t look like equality is all that present when it comes to the internet in our country. According to a new report from Akamai Technologies, the “State of the Internet” really varies depending on which state you’re in. Data from the internet service provider (ISP) suggests that connection speeds differ drastically depending on location, with a distinct divide present between the heavily populated coasts of the U.S. and the more rural midwestern states.
According to Akamai’s study, states on either coast not only have more access to the internet but also faster connections, as measured in megabits per second. The fastest speeds are enjoyed by those living in the northeast region of the U.S., with our nation’s capital taking first place at 26.6 Mbps. Rhode Island, Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York round out the top five states with the fastest internet and download speeds
Conversely, those in middle America have the slowest internet. Idaho, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and New Mexico have to deal with speeds around 11.9 Mbps.
Be that as it may, Akamai points out that speeds across the nation appear to be improving. Per the Federal Communication Commission’s recent Measuring Broadband America Report, median broadband speeds have gone up 22 percent over the last year. As internet service providers like Comcast, Spectrum, AT&T, and Verizon continue expanding their services, there are high hopes that these companies will begin to invest more in rural, more sparsely populated areas of the country. After all, we’re marching towards a 5G future in some areas of the country and we can’t leave others in the dust.
Already, lawmakers in Washington are looking for solutions that aim to address the gap in internet coverage, so we may soon be equal, at the very least, in terms of web access.