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How Good is Your Internet Coverage?

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 26 comments
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Look up what kind of internet you have.

U.S. President Obama outlined a plan late last month to blanket 98 percent of the U.S. population with high-speed wireless coverage. The timeline for that is the next five years.

Sadly, that means that some Americans will still be without high-speed internet until half-past this decade. We can chart the progress though, as the FCC has erected a Broadband Map website that allows you to view the internet coverage in any given area of the country, both wireline and wireless, as well as by speed.

This is also a great tool for those about to go on holiday to a more rural or remote part of the country but can't live without those superpokes.

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  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2011 11:49 AM
    How about we cover 98% of the US with wired internet first.
  • 0 Hide
    picsoul , February 22, 2011 11:59 AM
    Yeah, I have 6 down 1 up with craptastic Comcast on Docsis 1.0.
  • 0 Hide
    Doctor Rob , February 22, 2011 12:01 PM
    This year part of the state of Minnesota will be getting Fiber to the Home internet service. Just like Verizon's FIOS service. From what I have been told the speeds will be like 10megs up and down on the low end and 100megs up and down on the high end(though I have also been told it would be 100megs down and like 20-50 up)and even faster in the future. This will cover most of lake county and some of cook county in Minnesota.

    The nice thing will be that if you are living in the boonies miles and miles away from the cities and towns if you have power you will be able to get the internet service just the same as if you lived in town.

    Wireless internet is too unpredictable to run a business on. Push out the fiber optics too all areas. (much better, but more expensive, but also no worries about radiation)
  • 2 Hide
    JPForums , February 22, 2011 12:10 PM
    Sounds great. 98% of the US gets high speed wireless coverage. Three questions:
    1) 98% of the US what? (landmass, population, other)
    I'm guessing population from the snippets from his speech.
    2) What dictates high speed? Also, will it be measured by maximum theoretical, average over 24 hrs, average waking hrs, other?
    3) What is our current coverage by their metric?

    It's impossible to say given the unspecified nature of this plan, but an earlier article suggests we'll be getting a 3% boost (from 95% to 98%). It seems disingenuous to tout this 98% it they are only really doing 3%.

    The linked national broadband map defaults to showing only XDSL technologies. If they wanted people to get a real feel for our current coverage, they would show all coverage by default and let you turn off the ones you aren't concerned with. Alternately, since it seems they are only expanding wireless coverage, why not select all wireless technologies by default.

    Given how much of the map is already covered by wireless technologies, their definition of broadband must be quite low with no regard for capability to deliver the theoretical rates. By the time this gets implemented, these lines won't be considered highspeed in the consumer market.

    This leaves us, interestingly, right where we are now. As towers get upgraded, the old equipment can be reimplemented in outlying areas. The cost of new equipment for this previous generation technology has also gone down making it more viable to implement in the lower volume areas.
  • -1 Hide
    JPForums , February 22, 2011 12:11 PM
    Sounds great. 98% of the US gets high speed wireless coverage. Three questions:
    1) 98% of the US what? (landmass, population, other)
    I'm guessing population from the snippets from his speech.
    2) What dictates high speed? Also, will it be measured by maximum theoretical, average over 24 hrs, average waking hrs, other?
    3) What is our current coverage by their metric?

    It's impossible to say given the unspecified nature of this plan, but an earlier article suggests we'll be getting a 3% boost (from 95% to 98%). It seems disingenuous to tout this 98% it they are only really doing 3%.

    The linked national broadband map defaults to showing only XDSL technologies. If they wanted people to get a real feel for our current coverage, they would show all coverage by default and let you turn off the ones you aren't concerned with. Alternately, since it seems they are only expanding wireless coverage, why not select all wireless technologies by default.

    Given how much of the map is already covered by wireless technologies, their definition of broadband must be quite low with no regard for capability to deliver the theoretical rates. By the time this gets implemented, these lines won't be considered highspeed in the consumer market.

    This leaves us, interestingly, right where we are now. As towers get upgraded, the old equipment can be reimplemented in outlying areas. The cost of new equipment for this previous generation technology has also gone down making it more viable to implement in the lower volume areas.
  • 0 Hide
    blackened144 , February 22, 2011 12:37 PM
    I dont know how accurate this map is.. It says Comcast offers 50-100Mb service in my area, when in reality they only offer 8mb residential service. I know that because I dropped them and switched to AT&T U-Verse at 24Mb.. I would call Comcast frequently and ask if they ever had plans to upgrade my area and they always said NO.
  • 2 Hide
    Cyex , February 22, 2011 12:38 PM
    JPForums2) What dictates high speed?


    Marketing, branding, pure B.S. dictates 'high speed' but I can guarantee it'll be disappointingly slow.
  • 1 Hide
    leo2kp , February 22, 2011 12:57 PM
    Can't say I've been too disappointed with Comcast. We have 16/20mb internet but I've clocked it at 30+mb down on numerous occasions.
  • 5 Hide
    Anonymous , February 22, 2011 1:31 PM
    I have 100Mb fiber in Romania. 8 EUR/month
  • 2 Hide
    rhino13 , February 22, 2011 2:18 PM
    Wireless is trash.
    Fiber... that's where you want to be.
  • 1 Hide
    cadder , February 22, 2011 2:30 PM
    I have high speed at my office. We pay for a lot of speed that we don't get, plus we have a little bit of downtime. I have normal cable at my house. The speed is generally good but there is a lot of downtime. In general it is very unreliable. I have 3G on my phone. In places that I get 3G, it is a 50-50 chance as to whether I will get full speed or very slow speed. Once I leave my city I may or may not get any internet access.

    I've seen all of the arguments that Verizon has better coverage than ATT. I was in a rural area where I could barely get a signal and access the internet sporadically. My cousin's fancy Verizon phone was even worse than mine.
  • 1 Hide
    huron , February 22, 2011 2:44 PM
    I realize the geographical issues that the US has, but when I look at numbers from other countries, I am always so envious...I think of the bandwidth I get now and know that to them, it would feel like how dial-up feels to us.
  • 1 Hide
    f-14 , February 22, 2011 3:16 PM
    LordoflightI have 100Mb fiber in Romania. 8 EUR/month

    that's great!
    now if all of europe was fiber that'd be great too, that is about half the size of the usa.
    we already put fiber in enough to cover all of romania over 100,000 times back in the 90's
  • 2 Hide
    doc_08 , February 22, 2011 3:30 PM
    Obama should be just as concerned about the cost as the coverage. In Scotland it cost about $50 a month for Phone, internet and cable TV. I pay almost that much just for my internet connection and get at best 3MB. It's ridiculousness what we have to pay the greedy internet provider's for less service in the US.
  • 2 Hide
    erhardm , February 22, 2011 4:25 PM
    I am one of the lucky Fiber with 8 EUR/month too. But this thing is tricky. I is only in big cities and the same problem are with the little one as in U.S.
    f-14that's great!now if all of europe was fiber that'd be great too, that is about half the size of the usa.we already put fiber in enough to cover all of romania over 100,000 times back in the 90's


    I wouldn't say this, Romania's population is 18M, U.S. is 300M, so it would be a ratio of 16,7 over Romania. According to the Wikipedia, U.S citizen average income is $19,776, Romania's is $2,916 -> that would be a 6.81 ratio.

    But Romania is nr.4 at speedtest.net and U.S is nr.35!

    Acording to the ratio it would be fair for U.S citizen to pay ~$54/month and to have the same speed, but U.S. ISP don't need more customers, only more money so they have kind of more greed and take advantage of the U.S. citizen that depends more and more every day on facebook( alexa.com ranks it at nr.2 in the States)
  • 1 Hide
    Fusion777 , February 22, 2011 4:42 PM
    It will be interesting to see what US Government's renewed interest in internet participation will yield as far as monthly service fees go.

    For people dismissing the "only" 3% portion, look up "last mile" internet on google to see just what a PITA that can be. Although yes you can point out that 5% would be "last mile", but 3% certainly experiences the same difficulties.

  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 22, 2011 5:09 PM
    Indiana is looking good. I'd move there if it wasn't for the tornadoes.
  • 1 Hide
    hellwig , February 22, 2011 6:01 PM
    JPForumsSounds great. 98% of the US gets high speed wireless coverage. Three questions:1) 98% of the US what? (landmass, population, other)I'm guessing population from the snippets from his speech.2) What dictates high speed?


    1) AT&T already claims they cover 98% of American's (by population) with their cellular network. Assuming all of those have EDGE/GPRS, which is already faster than Dial-Up, AT&T will probably claim "mission accomplished" and demand billion is subsidies to "keep up the good work".

    2) As I said above, EDGE/GPRS are faster than dial-up, hense, high-speed.

    Good Work Everyone, Mission Accomplished!!!.
  • 0 Hide
    wortwortwort , February 22, 2011 11:08 PM
    In Canada, we have to pay $44 for 8Mbps with a cap of 40GB/Month. It's pathetic.
  • 0 Hide
    truehighroller , February 22, 2011 11:16 PM
    30 Down and 5 Up $55~ a month.
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