Friday, November 02, 2007

More than 20 percent of U.S. local phone company customers still couldn't get broadband in last half of 2006

In September, your blogger speculated the Federal Communications Commission was delaying the release of a semi-annual report on the number of high speed telco and cable connections to the Internet covering the last six months of 2006 at the behest of telcos because it would show little or no improvement in the percentage of residential customers able to subscribe to high speed Internet from their incumbent local telephone exchange carriers.

This week the FCC finally released the long delayed report and it's clearly unflattering to the telcos. It reveals more than 20 percent of American residences could not get broadband from their telephone companies in the latter half of 2006. That represents no change whatsoever in the national average from the first six months of that year and illustrates that rather than making an effort to extend broadband to these unserved customers, telcos are hanging them out to dry, permanently stranding them on the dark side of the digital divide.

States with the highest levels of telco broadband access in the last six months of 2006 include Florida (89% ); Georgia (90% ) Colorado (86%) and surprisingly, Nebraska (89%).

States with the lowest levels of telco broadband access in the period were Maine (67% ); Arkansas (66% ); Michigan (64% ); New Hampshire (61% ); Vermont (64% ) and Virginia (66% ).

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