The Best and Worst Internet Connections in America

Most of us are aware that America has internet speeds slower than other industrialized nations, but how's your internet speed compared to other Americans? If you're in the dark blue section of the map, you're doing well. In the dark red? You're dragging!  

The map above shows relative download speeds (by congressional district*) across the contiguous U.S., based on January through July data from over 5,600 cities and towns represented in Ookla's Net Index. Blue means a faster download speed than the national average of 18.2 Mbps, while red means a slower download speed.

18.2 Mbps isn't shabby, and it's a lot faster than where some other sources put U.S. internet speeds. This is because Ookla's data are primarily coming from the site, which is self-selectively used by people who'd actually bother to check their download speeds. On one hand, this means that the raw Mbps figures are heavily skewed towards high-speed users. On the other hand, it means that the relative comparison between regions is a lot more interesting – instead of simply mapping out what parts of the country haven't fully switched away from dial-up, this is showing, for users who are at least somewhat internet-savvy, where good speeds are generally available.

I live in the southeast corner of Kentucky. Right there is one of the reasons I spent way too much time getting my job done. Link

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Exactly. Where I live is out in the country, a few miles from a small town. My options are:

DSL: 1.5 Mb, good ping, no limits
Cell Modem: ~1.5 Mb, decent ping, 2GB per month, expensive
Satellite: Varies, bad ping, horrible connection throttling

So I'm on DSL, but no high-def video for me. I don't have an option that is anywhere NEAR the lowest speed depicted on that chart. And my area is not that remote.
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Most people would be surprised at how many areas either don't have anything but dialup or a low-speed "wifi from a cell phone tower" internet. Making genuine high-speed internet available over the entire US should be a major infrastructure goal. When it comes to facilitating commerce, it's right up there with roads and bridges and electricity.
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