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America’s internet issues are probably bigger than you think

There are still vast areas of the US that aren’t using high-speed internet.

person using internet in regards to net neutrality
Image: Unsplash

Internet connectivity has been an issue in the United States for a while, and that issue had been highlighted by the ongoing pandemic that we find ourselves in the middle of. As more people are working and going to school from home, we are beginning to realize the importance of having reliable broadband internet.

Unfortunately, due to several reasons including the US’s size and vast rural population, bringing broadband speed internet to everyone seems pretty difficult. The Verge has crafted a map compiled of anonymous data gathered by Microsoft that shows just how connected the United States is.

Specifically, the map shows all counties in the United States, highlighting those that have less than 15% of the population connected to the internet at broadband speeds (25Mbps). The results are pretty astounding, with huge areas across the US having very limited connection.

Here is a screenshot of the map, but head on over to The Verge to check out the full interactive:

us internet map from the verge
Areas in blue have less that 15% broadband coverage (Image: The Verge)

The area with the most amount of counties that lack proper internet infrastructure is definitely across the middle of the country. States like Kansas and Oklahoma are almost 50/50 in terms of who has good internet and who doesn’t. But surprisingly enough, there are many areas along the coasts that also have limited people connected to broadband internet.

It is important to note that this data measures usage instead of availability. This means that the map doesn’t distinguish between not using internet and not having it available. If someone has access to broadband internet but chooses not to use it for any reason, they are counted as a no in terms of this data.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a lose-lose situation going on in terms of expanding America’s broadband connectivity. Areas highlighted here tend to be impoverished, making them less appealing to internet providers who need customers. This, in turn, makes an area less appealing to businesses, as internet becomes more and more of a necessity.

Fortunately, this issue is at least on the radar of the higher-ups. In fact, President Biden recently announced plans to allocate $100 billion dollars to the country’s broadband infrastructure. Hopefully, the government can get something done for once. I’m not holding my breath.

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