FCC releases data on internet access

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, 2010,” 53% of fixed Internet connections to households now 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 high-speed service compares with just 49% at the end of 2009.

At the same time, high-speed Internet access for subscribers of mobile wireless service continues to outpace the growth of fixed high-speed services. At the end of 2010, 13% of mobile subscribers had access to high-speed service, more than triple the 4% penetration rate achieved by the end of 2009.

Without accounting for speed, Internet connections overall are growing. By the end of 2010, there were nearly 169 million Internet connections offering access at speeds of at least 200 kpbs, a 28% increase over 2009. Overall growth is being driven by dramatic increases in mobile connections, which increased by 63% in 2010. With more than 84 million subscribers, mobile Internet connections roughly equaled the number of fixed Internet connections at the end of the year.

Read complete text of the Commission’s report on Internet access.