The National Digital Inclusion Alliance today releases its new list of “The Top 25 Worst Connected U.S. Cities, 2015”.
Our rankings for 2015 are based on recently released Census data on home access to fixed broadband Internet services. This includes wireline broadband technologies (cable Internet, DSL, fiber to the premises) as well as satellite and “fixed wireless” technologies. It does not include 3G and 4G mobile devices like smartphones, or non-broadband connections like dial-up modems.
(Why leave out mobile connections? See this recent analysis by Pew Research’s Monica Anderson and John Horrigan of the limits of smartphone access as a substitute for robust home broadband.)
Using data from the 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) released in September by the U.S. Census Bureau, NDIA has ranked all 185 U.S. cities bigger than 50,000 households by the total percentages of those households found to be in four categories: no home Internet access at all, dial-up access only, mobile broadband only (or with dialup), and “Internet access without a subscription” (which the Census attributes to community wifi networks and free services for students on college campuses.)
(If you’d like to look them up yourself, the ACS provides these numbers in Table B28002 —“Presence and types of Internet subscriptions in household”).
At the top of 2015’s Worst Connected is Detroit, where a full 54% (!) of all households still didn’t have fixed broadband connections last year. Second on the list was Brownsville (TX) at 52%, followed closely by Cleveland at 48%, Memphis at 47%, and Shreveport and Laredo at 45%.
Click on the graphic below for a full-sized PDF version of the 2015 Worst Connected Cities list.
Click here to download NDIA’s complete spreadsheet of the 185 U.S. cities with more than 50,000 households in 2015, along with their fixed home broadband percentages and “worst-connected” rankings.
NDIA’s 2014 Worst Connected Cities report, which analyzed cities’ ACS percentages for complete lack of home Internet access from any source including mobile devices, and also their cities’ non-connection rates for lower-income households, can be found here.