Aii Trivia Question 2 – 7/2/18

Of the approximately 126 million households in the U.S., how many DO NOT have access to high speed Internet?

  1. 16%
  2. 53%


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 126.22 million U.S. households in 2017. According to data aggregation website Statista, 106.07 million of those households have “fixed broadband subscriptions.” The correct answer then, is 16 percent. Forty-nine people responded to our trivia question of the week on Facebook and Twitter combined. Of all respondents, 21 guessed correctly, while 23 guessed incorrectly. In all fairness though, this was somewhat of a trick question.

Whether or not someone has broadband access really depends on how you define broadband. Under the long used FCC broadband threshold of 4Mbps, 96 percent of Americans have broadband access according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, in 2015, the FCC changed the metrics for what qualifies as “broadband,” increasing the minimum download speed from 4 Mbps to 25 Mbps stating that the “4 Mbps standard set in 2010 is dated and inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way (which is the FCC’s stated goal).”

Viewed this way – in the way the question was asked – fewer Americans truly have access to broadband with sufficient speeds, which exacerbates the “digital divide.” Aside from the inconvenience of slower speeds, research indicates that broadband access can help improve access to education, and peoples’ to get or keep a job. We may see the digital divide begin to close as communities around the country launch 5G broadband services.


Written by Aii Staff from our Aii Asks series in conjunction with Ask the Expert.


The Alliance for Innovation and Infrastructure (Aii) is an independent, national research and educational organization. An innovative think tank, Aii explores the intersection of economics, law, and public policy in the areas of climate, damage prevention, energy, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and transportation.