The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its most recent report on access in the United States to fixed and mobile Internet connections, including information on the gap between current service levels and the benchmark Internet connection speeds recommended under the Commission’s National Broadband Plan.
According to the Commission’s report, entitled Internet Access Services: Status as of December 31, 2012, nearly 70% of fixed Internet connections to households meet or exceed the speed tier that most closely approximates the target set in the National Broadband Plan of 3 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 768 kilobits per second (kbps) upstream. This penetration rate for fixed high-speed service compares with just 49% in 2009.
At the same time, high-speed Internet access (defined at 3 Mbps downstream or greater) for subscribers of mobile wireless service continues to grow. As of December 2012, nearly 38% of mobile subscribers had access to high-speed service, compared with a 21% penetration rate as of December 2011.
Without accounting for speed, Internet connections overall are growing. By the end of December 2012, there were 262 million Internet connections offering access at speeds of at least 200 kpbs, a 14% year-over-year increase. Overall growth continues to be driven by dramatic increases in mobile connections, which increased by 18% in just one year. With 169 million subscribers, the number of mobile Internet connections at the end of December 2012 was nearly 82% greater than the number of fixed Internet connections.