A closer look— state-by-state funding per resident
Looking at the state-by-state numbers doesn’t tell the whole story. Let’s take a look at how that funding divides out per capita.
For example, Maryland ranks as one of the states with the least allocated funding per resident. Maryland’s rural residents have suffered the consequences of faulty FCC data allocation for years. Racial inequity among neighborhoods compounds the crisis: African American households account for 40% of all disconnected households.6
And South Dakota has some of the slowest average internet speeds and a large rural population, yet it ranks as one of the states with the least allocated funding support overall.7,4
Kentucky is one of the poorest states in the US with some of the most internet deserts.5,7 In rural Appalachia, rugged terrain creates additional obstacles to installing broadband infrastructure. And in some areas, internet access is getting worse—last autumn, AT&T discontinued its DSL internet service to new customers in parts of rural Kentucky. Yet residents in big cities like Louisville have access to 1 Gbps fiber internet.8
In case you’re getting fired up about some state-by-state inequality here, remember that this data doesn’t give the whole picture because this is only Phase 1 of the FCC’s RDOF program. Phase 1 focuses on homes and businesses located in census blocks without any broadband connection (which is defined by the FCC as at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload).
So, the funding in this round is skewed to those who have the absolute worst broadband service in the country. Companies that won funding have up to six years to extend service to areas they won the bid for. The next phase will likely include a similar timeframe but more allocated money.