U.S. broadband providers continue to deploy and upgrade networks to bring consumers across the nation ever-faster service and more competitive choice, according to a new USTelecom and CensusNBM analysis of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband availability data for mid-year 2017. This research demonstrates the real economic impact of broadband capital investment dollars: more and faster broadband for American consumers and businesses. According to the latest USTelecom analysis, wireline, wireless, and cable broadband providers invested $76 billion in 2017 and more than $1.6 trillion since 1996.
The broadband availability data indicate that deployment is progressing. Chart 1 shows that broadband investment generates real benefits for U.S. consumers. In the 18 months from the end of 2015 to mid-2017, fiber deployment grew from 21 percent to 29 percent of homes and competitive availability of wired broadband at 25 megabits per second (mbps) download and 3 mbps upload increased from 31 percent to 55 percent. During the same period, the difference between non-rural and rural deployment of fixed broadband at 10 mbps download and 1 mbps upload narrowed from 20 percent to 14 percent. By mid-2017, broadband at 100 mbps download was available to 89 percent of Americans. As discussed below, all of these metrics continue to improve. While progress is strong, the need to upgrade broadband network speed and quality is constant and significant challenges remain in closing rural broadband gaps. Therefore, it will remain imperative for policymakers to maintain an investment-friendly environment for broadband deployment.