The median U.S. internet speed was 60 Mbps downstream and 5 Mbps upstream as of December 31, 2017, according to a report released this month from the FCC. More than two-thirds of internet customers (69%) subscribe to service at speeds of at least 25 Mbps, including 37.5% who subscribe to service at speeds of at least 100 Mbps, the commission said.

The December 2017 data apparently was the most recent available when the FCC did its analysis, which is summarized in the report titled “Internet Access Services: Status as of December 31, 2017.” The data is obtained from FCC Form 477 data.

Median U.S. Internet Speed
The percentage of customers taking higher speed service has been steadily increasing in recent years. As of December 2014, only 44% of customers subscribed to service at speeds of at least 25 Mbps, of which only 9.5% subscribed to service at speeds of 100 Mbps or higher.

Conversely, the percentage of customers taking the lowest speed services has been decreasing. As of December 2017, only 2.8% of internet customers subscribed to service providing speeds of less than 3 Mbps, down from 7.9% in December 2014.

Source: FCC

While some industry observers argue that mobile subscribership has reached a plateau, the growth rate in mobile internet subscribers is higher than that for fixed internet subscribers, according to the FCC. The report found a 4% overall growth rate in internet connections between December 2016 and December 2017, including 4.5% growth in mobile internet connections and 2% growth in fixed connections.

Total fixed internet connections were 108 million and total mobile internet connections were 313 million as of December 2017, the FCC said. The number of residential fixed internet connections per 100 U.S. households was 75 as of June 2017, according to the commission.

Other interesting data points from the new report:

  • Cable modem was the most popular fixed broadband technology, representing 62.3% of connections over 200 kbps, followed by DSL (21.9%) and fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP – 12.9%).
  • The FCC identified more than 1100 service providers offering FTTP and more than 700 offering DSL. In comparison, there were less than 400 providers using cable modem technology and less than 100 offering mobile wireless.

The high number of FTTP providers illustrates the impact of the nation’s smaller rural carriers, many of whom have deployed FTTP, along with the impact of competitive providers such as Google Fiber, that have deployed FTTP.

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