A new study has revealed the best and worst states for home internet speeds – and if you don't live on the coasts, you aren't going to be happy about the results.
The study from HighSpeedInternet.com conducted three million different independent speed tests, ranking each state based on the best and worst connections across the country.
Take a look at the results below, and try not to get too upset if your state is in the bottom ten.
The Fastest Internet Speeds by State
Fast internet speeds are the dream. Between streaming content, getting work done, and generally connecting with the outside world, the value of a good connection cannot be overstated. And if you live in one of these states, you're one of the lucky ones.
- Maryland (84.1 Mbps)
- Delaware (80.9 Mbps)
- New Jersey (76.3 Mbps)
- Washington D.C. (75.2 Mbps)
- Virginia (74.5 Mbps)
- Rhode Island (74.5 Mbps)
- Massachusetts (73.6 Mbps)
- Colorado (70.9 Mbps)
- Washington (67.3 Mbps)
- California (67.2 Mbps)
Depending on how well you remember your US geography lessons, you might realize that the top five states are all in the D.C.-area, with Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Washington D.C., and Virginia all bordering each other in one way or another.
The lower five, on the other hand, are a bit more spread out, with Rhode Island and Massachusetts likely getting a bump from the Boston crowd. Additionally, Colorado, Washington, and California are tech hubs in their own right, which likely helped bump them up the list.
The Slowest Internet Speeds by State
Whereas fast internet speeds can make you feel like you're on top of the world, slow internet speeds can absolutely ruin your day. Struggling through streaming services, fumbling through emails, and waiting for social media updates to finally post is a brutal experience, and living in these states could make it a whole lot worse.
- Alaska (20.6 Mbps)
- Montana (30.1 Mbps)
- Maine (30.8 Mbps)
- Idaho (30.9 Mbps)
- Wyoming (33.3 Mbps)
- South Dakota (33.3 Mbps)
- Iowa (35.8 Mbps)
- Arkansas (37.3 Mbps)
- Mississippi (37.9 Mbps)
- Hawaii (38.1 Mbps)
This list, unfortunately, has just one trend driving the low speeds: rural America. The inability for rural states to get access to reasonable internet speeds has been well-known for years, with many tech giants and politicians pushing to improve the woeful lack of internet access and subsequent infrastructure.
The Importance of Internet Speed
There's nothing worse than a slow internet connection. Whether you're trying to get some work done or simply stream your favorite songs on Spotify, a poor connection can throw a real wrench in the works. But it's a lot more than an inconvenience for some people – particularly when it comes to the many services that now rely on digital participation.
From banking to political action, a poor internet connection has the potential to hinder businesses and individuals alike from succeeding, or even just surviving. As Elizabeth Warren wrote during her presidential campaign:
“Our failure to invest in rural areas is holding back millions of families, weakening our economy, and undermining our efforts to combat climate change.”
The coronavirus pandemic has made the rural internet connectivity problem much worse too, as millions of Americans are working from home for the first time. Considering video chat services – the main driver of business during the quarantine – typically need a stable connection to function properly, the lack of internet infrastructure in these states is having a detrimental effect on businesses, who need all the help they can get right now.
Can 5G Help with Internet Connectivity Problems?
5G technology has certain seen its fair share of controversy during the coronavirus pandemic, but the reality is that the innovation could provide fast internet speeds to a wide range of users across the country. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that immediately impacting rural communities is pretty low.
“It’s unlikely that initial phases of a 5G rollout will make a dramatic impact on rural broadband,” Kevin Hasley, executive director of Performance Benchmarking at IHS Markit, told Digital Trends.
While the impacts of 5G technology won't be immediately felt in rural areas, that doesn't mean it's not worth investing in. The reality of the situation is that 5G has a much better chance of improving internet connectivity in rural areas than the alternative.
“5G networks aren’t cheap, but compared to building fiber-optic networks to cover rural populations and industry, they are demonstrably more economical,” said Gordon Smith, CEO of Sagent.
Given the PR nightmare that 5G technology has experienced over the last few months, only time will tell whether or not people will get on board with the new network, particularly considering how few of them fully understand it. But with internet speeds this slow across the rural areas of this country, we'd say it's certainly worth a shot.