Widespread Access to Fiber Connectivity and Gigabit Speeds for Rural Anchor Institutions Highlighted in NTCA Member Survey

For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Withers, 703-351-2087, lwithers@ntca.org

Arlington, Va. (August 15, 2018)—NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association today released a survey report regarding broadband connectivity that its members provide to rural anchor institutions such as public schools, libraries, and medical facilities. The survey found that in survey respondents’ incumbent serving areas, the majority of libraries, public schools and healthcare facilities, are connected to fiber networks and many can now access Gigabit speeds, a significant improvement over the connectivity available five years ago.

Compared to data collected by NTCA in 2013, both the maximum speed of broadband reported as available to connected anchor institutions and the average speed reported as purchased by those institutions have increased significantly. The survey conveys that internet speeds offered by local internet service providers to the schools, libraries and hospitals within their incumbent service areas have been able to stay ahead of increasing bandwidth demands.

The maximum connection speed that NTCA members reported making available to K-12 public schools averaged 1 Gigabit (1,000 Mbps), with 82% of those schools connected by fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) networks. About 76% of rural hospitals and medical clinics and 64% of libraries were connected by FTTP according to survey respondents, with average maximum speeds of 734 Mbps and 500 Mbps, respectively, available to those anchor institutions.

“Small, rural broadband providers have leveraged a mix of community commitment, entrepreneurial spirit, private capital, and critical programs like the FCC’s High-Cost Universal Service Fund to bring connectivity to rural America, including these vital public institutions that aid the health, well-being, and education of rural Americans across the country,” said NTCA Chief Executive Officer Shirley Bloomfield. “This survey shows that many NTCA members have made significant improvements to their networks and continue to prioritize the connectivity needs of key community assets.”

More than 100 NTCA members completed the survey, which consisted of questions about available and purchased broadband Internet speeds throughout incumbent service areas, as well as the prevalence of rural anchor institutions and network technologies deployed to connect them. The full survey report can be viewed online.

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NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association is the premier association representing nearly 850 independent, community-based telecommunications companies that are leading innovation in rural and small-town America. NTCA advocates on behalf of its members in the legislative and regulatory arenas, and it provides training and development; publications and industry events; and an array of employee benefit programs. In an era of transformative technological advancements, regulatory challenges and marketplace competition, NTCA members are leading the technological evolution for rural consumers, delivering robust and high-quality services over future-proof networks that make rural communities vibrant places in which to live and do business. Because of their efforts, rural America is fertile ground for innovation in economic development, e-commerce, health care, agriculture and education, and it contributes billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year. Visit us at www.ntca.org.