After a nearly four-year hiatus, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its most recent report on access in the United States to 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, 2021, over 95% 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 approximately 81% at the end of 2013, 70% at the end of 2012, and just 49% in 2009.
Without accounting for speed, Internet connections overall are growing. By the end of December 2021, at least 510 million Internet connections were operating at speeds over 200 kbps, a 4% year-over-year increase. Overall growth continues to be driven by dramatic increases in mobile connections. At the end of December 2021, there were approximately 384 million mobile Internet connections, compared with only about 126 million fixed Internet connections.