More than 19 million Americans lacked access to fixed broadband connections as of the end of 2017, according to newly released Federal Communications Commission data.
That figure represents an improvement from the year before, when slightly more than 26 million Americans lacked access to fixed broadband connections, according to the agency.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the drop in the number of people without access to broadband -- defined as connections at speeds of at least 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream -- proves the agency's efforts to encourage deployment have been successful.
“Our approach is working,” Pai stated this week.
A draft of the agency's annual broadband report concludes that deployment is proceeding “on a reasonable and timely basis.”
Not everyone on the FCC agrees with Pai's interpretation.
“The @FCC just shared with me a draft report on the state of broadband. It concludes that across the country broadband deployment is reasonable and timely,” Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday in a Twitter post. “I beg to differ. Millions of households -- in rural and urban communities -- have no access to high-speed service. That’s a fact.”
The FCC also said this week that more Americans had access to the web at speeds faster than 25 Mbps.
By the end of 2017, almost 291 million Americans could access fixed connections at 100 Mbps downstream, up from 245 million one year earlier.
The number of people with access to 250 Mbps downstream connections increased by more than 45%, to around 205 million, according to the report.