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Broadband in Your Backyard

November 3, 2011 | 0 Comments

Which has a higher rate of broadband adoption: Georgia or Monaco? New Jersey or Liechtenstein? California or South Korea? The answers may surprise you.

Using data collected by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Wireless for America state-by-state broadband adoption map offers some startling statistics about how individual U.S. states stack up against countries across the world. For example, only 50 percent of people in New Jersey subscribe to broadband service in their homes. Liechtenstein’s rate of adoption is higher at 64 percent.

There are also some interesting findings when you compare between states. Nearly two-thirds of people in California, the home of Silicon Valley, do not have broadband subscriptions. States like West Virginia, Maine, and Hawaii – none of them known as high-tech capitals – have over 50 percent adoption.

What becomes clear is that the size of a state seems to have a lot to do with adoption rates. The infrastructure needed to provide wired broadband to people in rural areas is expensive to build and support. The cost is passed down to consumers who find the price for service prohibitive. As noted, even California – the most populous state in the country – has one of the lowest adoption rates due to its size and large rural population.

Wireless technology can close the gap. Wireless broadband networks can provide high speed Internet access to a large area without the need to run expensive communications infrastructure to individual homes and businesses.

But, while wireless networks may not involve digging up roads and stringing telephone poles, they do require spectrum. Spectrum is essentially the airwaves we use for wireless communications. But with the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other wireless devices, spectrum in the U.S. is running out. In fact, some estimates say that spectrum will run out in 2 years.

Wireless for America hopes that industry leaders and government regulators can cooperate to make the most of our limited spectrum resources. Together, we can make sure all technologies coexist and that all Americans – regardless of what state they live in – can benefit from wireless broadband Internet access.