high speed traffic picture

According to market research firm NPD, the continental U.S. has a long way to go before adequate broadband is available for most homes. The firm reports that only 50% of homes today access broadband at true broadband speeds of 25 Mbps or faster.

NPD appears to be defining “true” broadband by the FCC’s current measurement of broadband, which is 25/3 Mbps. That’s a widely debatable measurement for true broadband, considering it would be hard pressed to support many of the bandwidth hungry applications of today.

What’s worse according to NPD is 34% of U.S. homes receive speeds of less than 5 Mbps, and 15% have no internet access at all. NPD says this data is based on “[a] combination of sales data, speed test results, consumer surveys, FCC data and other sources to create a comprehensive view of the connected state of America today.”

“The lack of higher-speed internet limits the opportunity for newer devices and services, as customers do not have the connectivity needed to generate a satisfactory experience,” said Eddie Hold, president, NPD Connected Intelligence in a press release. “That has a ripple-on effect for consumer technology, limiting the need for larger, smarter TVs, streaming devices, or even tablets and newer PCs.”

NPD reports that Vermont, West Virginia, New Mexico, and Mississippi are among the least connected states, while New Jersey, Rhode Island, Maryland, and California are among the most connected.

“In Vermont only 24% of homes receive [true] broadband speeds, while in New Jersey 65% of homes do,” NPD notes.

NPD suggests that rural markets suffer the most from these lower speeds and therefore also “[h]ave far lower ownership levels of connected devices, as well as a higher level of price sensitivity for technology products ranging from TVs to streaming media players and beyond.”

Faster Speed Adoption Data
It’s worth noting that OpenVault’s OVBI has different data about the speeds to which broadband households subscribe. According to the 4Q21 OVBI, less than 10% of U.S. broadband households subscribe to a speed of less than 50 Mbps, with 37% subscribing to a speed tier of 100 – 200 Mbps.

In any case, the trend seems to be toward higher speeds. According to OVBI, broadband households are increasingly adopting faster speeds, and consuming much more data as a result.

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