FCC Releases New Census Tract-Level Data on High-Speed Internet

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released the first “High-Speed Services for Internet Access” report to be based on the new census tract-based Form 477 data-collection requirements.

The FCC has collected information from facilities-based broadband service providers since 2000. In 2008, the FCC released orders implementing significant improvements to its data collection. As part of the improvements, providers of fixed-location Internet access connections faster than 200 kilobits per second (kbps) report connection counts at the census tract level as well as the state level. All reporting providers, including mobile wireless providers, report connection counts for an increased number of upload and download speed tiers.

Therefore, for the first time, this report summarizes information about fixed-location Internet access connections in 3,232 counties and 66,287 census tracts and in 72 combinations of upload and download advertised transmission speeds. Additionally, the report summarizes information about subscribers with full Internet access at transmission speeds above 200 kbps as part of their mobile wireless service package.

The FCC estimates the share of households with fixed-location high-speed connections in individual census tracts and counties, which indicate there are substantial areas of relatively low and high adoption. In 200 counties (6 percent of counties, containing 1 percent of U.S. households), the FCC estimates that no more than 20 percent of households had such connections, while in 104 counties (3 percent of counties, containing 8 percent of U.S. households), the FCC estimates at least 80 percent of households had such connections.

The FCC has created nationwide maps showing its estimates of household adoption rate ranges in individual census tracts based on the census results. Moreover, according to this census report, high-speed Internet access connections to homes and businesses over fixed-location technologies increased by 10 percent during 2008, to 77 million. By contrast, the annual rate of increase was 17 percent during 2007.

For more details, the report is available for download at www.fcc.gov/wcb/stats.

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