Monday, July 12, 2010

Internet access

Internet access has been in the news lately. The Federal government has a website dedicated to broadband programs. Actually, there's likely a ton of government sites. The FCC addresses broadband here and here while California state government covered it's broadband initiatives here and Seattle's site is here. Finland has made Internet access a legal right while France deems it a human right.

You can test the speed of your Internet connection with free tools like Speedtest (it works) or the FCC's free tool, located here. The FCC's tool works, too.

The Pew Research Center has a site devoted to Internet studies. Recent press coverage has excoriated America's low level of national access and slow transmission rates vs. Internet powerhouses like Korea. The idea that America isn't monolithic was lost in the hullabaloo. Census Bureau surveys documenting home Internet access by state were overlooked.

The Census Bureau conducted home Internet access surveys in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2009. Published data is simple but difficult to use in tabular form. TheRaven converted data from the four surveys into a set of charts that report how Internet access improved between 2001 and 2009. These charts also enable comparison between the states.

First, the states in alphabetic order:
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Next, the same results are sorted from highest-to-lowest level of 2009 access:
Click image to see full size

Internet access in the highest states compares decently with international ratios. This is not an excuse, but comparison to Korea, Finland, et al should bear in mind our 50-state system of resource allocation, which accrues from a document called the Constitution. Not to fear. Even Mississippi will catch up, some day.

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