Connecting state and local government leaders

Ranking the ‘Worst Connected’ Cities in the U.S.

Shreveport, Louisiana isn't the worst-connected city, but is pretty close, according to a National Digital Inclusion Alliance analysis.

Shreveport, Louisiana isn't the worst-connected city, but is pretty close, according to a National Digital Inclusion Alliance analysis. Shutterstock

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

This National Digital Inclusion Alliance report isn’t something the local Chamber of Commerce is likely going to put in promotional materials.

Here’s a ranked list that no local government should want be included on: the “worst-connected city.”

The National Digital Inclusion Alliance took 2016 American Community Survey data that was released last September and then “ranked all 185 U.S. cities with more than 50,000 households by the total percentage of each city’s households lacking fixed broadband internet subscriptions.”

There’s an important thing to note, according to the NDIA: “[T]his data is not an indication of the availability of home broadband service, but rather of the extent to which households are actually connected to it.”

With “fixed broadband Internet,” the U.S. Census Bureau includes wireline broadband technologies like cable Internet, DSL and fiber as well as satellite and “fixed wireless” technologies. It doesn’t include 3G and 4G mobile service.

For this study, NDIA focused on fixed broadband subscriptions for the comparison of household connection rates, because “the strict data caps common to mobile Internet services make mobile much less useful for general household Internet access.”

So by that methodology, which cities are the worst of the worst-connected cities in the U.S.?

Brownsville, Texas leads NDIA’s worst-connected cities ranking with 67 percent of its households without fixed broadband internet, followed by these cities to round out the top 10:

  • Detroit, Michigan (56.72%)
  • Hialeah, Florida (56.18%)
  • Shreveport, Louisiana (50.59%)
  • Memphis, Tennessee (49.20%)
  • Cleveland, Ohio (48.59%)
  • Laredo, Texas (47.36%)
  • Miami, Florida (47.13%)
  • Jackson, Mississippi (46.74%)
  • Topeka, Kansas (46.19%)

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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