Published on October 17th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson


Who’s fast? Who’s slow? New broadband report shows wide diversity

If you’re a cord cutter or just someone slowly increasing their use of streaming media on your Apple TV, a new, detailed analysis of American broadband speeds is a must-read. The report shows a wide variance between the fastest and slowest broadband in cities and states. So much so, the five fastest states have download speeds around three times faster than the five slowest.

The highlights of the study are these…

  • Rhode Island ranks as America’s fastest state with an average speed measured at 36.69Mbps, with Montana coming in last with an average speed of 10.94Mbps. This means that downloading a high-definition movie in Rhode Island would take 27 minutes and 54 seconds, but in Montana, it would take 1 hour and 33 minutes.
  • The fastest place in America is Washington VA, with a download speed of 210.19Mbps, with marked contrasts between cities across America, even those in the same state.
  • In contrast, the slowest place in America is Southerly North Slope Bo AK, with a download speed of 0.28Mbps.

The research found major regional differences as well. Eight of the top 10 states in terms of download speeds are on the east coast, with Oregon and Washington the exceptions. Western states California and Nevada also have high average download speeds, the report said. Fast download speeds were also found in Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. There was a large difference in speeds across the Rust Belt states, with speeds in Pennsylvania doubling those in Ohio.

The top 10 state rankings are…

  1. Rhode Island
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Maryland
  5. Virginia
  6. New Jersey
  7. Oregon New York
  8. Washington, D.C.
  9. Delaware
  10. Connecticut

“Urban areas, particularly on the coasts, have exceptional access compared to the Midwest and rural areas, reflecting social, geographic and economic divides,” said Collin Anderson, an independent researcher at M-Lab.

The 42 million speed tests were collected across the 12 months up to May 10th of this year  by M-Lab, a partnership between New America’s Open Technology Institute, Google Open Source Research, Princeton University’s PlanetLab, other supporting partners, and compiled and extracted by analysts at

A full state-by-state table of results can be accessed here, via Google Docs, and an interactive map showing rankings and mean download speeds can be found here.

In a previous report complied by, the US managed to trump 168 countries but still found itself outside the world’s top 20 when it comes to broadband speeds, coming in behind 13 European countries and five countries in Asia.


About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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