May 23, 2022

Data: 34 Million American’s Still Lack Access to Broadband at Benchmark Speeds, Draft of 2016 FCC Broadband Progress Report Released

From the New FCC Fact Sheet:

Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 requires the FCC to determine whether “advanced telecommunications capability” — broadband — is being deployed to all Americans in a “reasonable and timely fashion.” If the answer is negative, the Act requires the FCC to “take immediate action” to speed deployment. Following is a summary of Chairman Wheeler’s draft of the 2016 Broadband Progress Report, which he is circulating to his fellow commissioners for their consideration at the January 28 Open Meeting.

The Conclusion

While the nation continues to make progress in broadband deployment, advanced telecommunications capability is not being deployed in a reasonable and timely fashion to all Americans.

Factors leading to this conclusion are as follows:

  • Approximately 34 million Americans still lack access to fixed broadband at the FCC is benchmark speed of 25 Mbps for downloads, 3 Mbps for uploads.
  • A persistent urban-rural digital divide has left 39 percent of the rural population without  access to fixed broadband
    • By comparison, only 4 percent living in urban areas lack access
    • 10 percent lack access nationwide
  • 41 percent of Tribal Lands residents lack access
  • 41 percent of schools have not met the Commission’s short term goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 students/staff.
    • These schools educate 47 percent of the nation’s students,
    • [Our emphasis] Only  9 percent of schools have fiber connections capable of meeting the FCC’s long term goal of 1 Gbps per 1,000 students

Internationally, the U.S. continues to lag behind a number of other developed nations, ,ranking 16th out of 34 countries.


Direct to Additional Data via Full Text Fact Sheet (2 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.