US Broadband Penetration

Ben from New York asks, what is the percent of broadband penetration in the United States.

When people normally talk about broadband penetration in the World or even in the a single country like the United States, they normally end up talking about the number of purchases made using broadband versus dial-up access. This view is short-sighted and does not answer the question.

According to the FCC, broadband is considered a mere 200kbps either upload or download. 200kbps is barely enough for low-quality video. Additionally, the FCC bases access to broadband available in a region (postal code) as available to everyone within the region even if only one entity has such access.

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), last year the United States dropped from 13th to 16th place in broadband penetration, with 11.4 connections per 100 inhabitants. [1]

The percent of households without any Internet connection has remaind about 19% over the past few years. If we consider the Sociological average number of household members, 3.8 persons, we can summize that of the 296,976,339 US citizens [2] there are 78,151,668 households. 19% [1] of those do not have Internet access thereby equating to 14,848,816 households or 56,425,500 US citizens. 11.4% [1] of 296,976,339 equates to 33,855,302 US citizens with broadband access. Therefore, a total of 90,280,802 or 30% either have broadband or do not have access to the Internet at all. The bottom line is simply this … 70% of the United States population have only dial-up access.

Studies by other organizations tend to review information from large corporations who may have the services available to evaluate their traffic. If we consider the small number of sites they measure or survey, the results tend to not reflect the actual truth.

Like any study performed by any organization, reports can be swayed to present the truth the organization wants to portray.

1. Broadband Reality Check. S. Derek Turner. August 2005. Free Press.
2. US Census Bureau.