FCC 2016 Broadband Progress Report

FCC 2016 Broadband Progress Report

Wireless broadband usage skyrocketing, but 10% of

Americans still lack access to fixed broadband


Once again the FCC has issued its annual report on the progress of making broadband available to all Americans and once again it has found the deployment of fixed broadband wanting, particularly in rural and tribal areas. But there has been some progress, the Commission said, at least in urban areas.

That is the overview found in the 85-page document issued at the end of January 2016.

So, as it has said before, the FCC will take immediate action to hasten deployment by encouraging investment in broadband infrastructure and encouraging competition. Details are sadly lacking.

FCC data show that about 10%, or 34 million Americans – nearly the population of Canada – lack access to the standard fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. About 10.6M of them live in urban areas. This access in urban areas is improved from last year, when 17% were unserved. In rural and tribal areas, the numbers unserved are 39% of population.

Wireless usage continues to climb, and the FCC reported that smartphones now comprise 77% of mobile phones, vs. 50% two years ago. And usage is growing rapidly, rising to 849MB per month per subscriber, from 122 MB per month three years earlier.

Most of this mobile data usage was for health related matters, online banking, job searches and educational pursuits, the FCC said.