has steep climb to reach its broadband speed and access goals
By Sharon Schmickle
June 22, 2010
Ambitious goals set into state law this year call for
to rank among the top five in the nation in broadband speed and
had better get going.
A new report
by the Pew Center on the States gauges how close
states are to meeting broadband goals set in federal stimulus
legislation, which calls for providing connections of at least
768 kilobits per second (Kbps) for downloads.
— behind most other large Midwestern states, including
Michigan and Missouri.
By that federal standard the best connected states are
Oklahoma and Nevada. The worst are
Alaska and Montana.
The stakes couldn't be higher in this race to a connected
"Broadband has earned the term "game changer," and it is easy to
see why," says Susan Urahn, the
"Once considered a convenience, access to broadband Internet
service has crossed the threshold to necessity," she said in a
letter announcing the report. "As increasing numbers of
business, government and personal interactions move online,
Americans who lack reliable, affordable, high-speed Internet
connections may be left behind."
Broadband is driving the latest thrusts in everything from the
economy to education to health-care innovation. That's why $7.2
billion in federal stimulus funding was made available to states
and their partners for expanding and upgrading broadband access.
had been virtually asleep at the wheel while other developed
countries rushed to connect at ever higher speeds. In
a report by the Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development the United States ranked
15th in broadband subscribers per 100 inhabitants.