Researchers and policymakers recognize that availability and use of high-speed Internet services – a range of connection technologies collectively known as broadband – are essential to economic growth. The United States has made considerable progress towards ubiquitous broadband access, with more than 93 percent of the population living in areas offering wired broadband service, and about 98 percent having access to either wired or terrestrial wireless connectivity at speeds of at least 3 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload (NTIA & FCC, 2013). The Internet has rapidly grown from an academic network into a resource that is now integral to the lives of most Americans. In 2000, only 4 percent of homes used broadband Internet service. By 2011, 69 percent were online at speeds greater than dial-up. The President has observed, however, that we have more work to do.
By connecting every corner of our country to the digital age, we can help our businesses become more competitive, our students become more informed and our citizens become more engaged. —President Obama, announcing U.S. Ignite, June 12, 2012