How Fast Is the Internet in Your State?

What can be done to boost your speed

Key Takeaways

  • Internet speeds can vary dramatically from state to state, according to a new report. 
  • New Mexico comes in dead last with an average speed of 72.2 megabytes per second.
  • The broadband industry is working on the next generation of broadband, which could increase speeds around the country.
Light trails on a dirt road out in the country

Tim Robberts / Getty Images

If your web pages aren’t loading fast enough, you might want to blame the Internet speed in your state. 

The company recently released a study of internet speeds around the country. New Mexico clocks in with the slowest downloads in the country, with an average rate of 72.2 megabytes per second. Experts say that internet speed often depends on the infrastructure in the area where you live, but there are ways to make the best of bad situations.  

"To make the internet faster in many states requires ISPs to make the necessary upgrades and investments," Neset Yalcinkaya, a vice president at wireless company Quectel, said in an email interview. "States can offer incentives such as tax credits."

Winners and Losers

To figure out how fast the internet was in various places, HighSpeedInternet looked at data from more than 1.7 million speed test tool results from Feb. 1, 2020, to March 16, 2021. The average internet speed in the United States was 99.3 Mbps, the researchers found. 

The winners and losers in the speed department were clear. Rhode Island came out on top with an average speed of 129 Mbps, beating out two-time former record holder Maryland. Just below was New Jersey, which zips along at 120.4 Mbps. 

"To make the internet faster in many states requires ISPs to make the necessary upgrades and investments."

Things get a lot more sluggish towards the end of the list. Aside from New Mexico, the slowest internet can be found in Arkansas (64.9 Mbps), South Dakota (70.8 Mbps), and Iowa (71.8 Mbps). 

Users with slower internet are being left behind, observers say. 

"Internet connection is as important to modern life as veins are to your body's healthy functioning," Deyan Georgiev, the CEO of NitroPack, a website performance optimization service, said in an email interview.

"Loading speed is absolutely critical for a good user experience. This is greatly influenced by the underlying internet infrastructure performance."

But looking at state-level data doesn’t necessarily tell the whole picture about internet speeds. Jameson Zimmer, a broadband analyst with ConnectCalifornia, said in an email that speed test performance aggregates largely correlate with the ratio of urban/suburban/rural population. 

A high speed internet connection speedometer.

asbe / Getty Images

"So Mississippi and Connecticut may rank very differently at the state level, but when you look at cities within each state, the scores tend to be quite similar. E.g. Hartford and Jackson," he said. 

Some states have cities with high-speed fiber networks, which can skew the results. "We see this in California with cities like San Francisco with active fiber overbuilders outperforming cable monoplane markets like central LA," he said.  

How to Pump up the Speed

The internet speeds in the US are dismal compared to some other countries. For example, the residents of the tiny European country of Liechtenstein enjoy average rates of 199.28

If you live in a state with slow internet, one solution might be to combine two Internet lines, said Jay Akin, CEO, Mushroom Networks, in an email interview. His company claims to boost speed by bringing together wired lines or 3G/4G/LTE wireless or satellite into a single faster and more reliable one.

"Advanced broadband bonding routers come with additional quality of service features that will add to the improvement in end-user experience," Akin added. 

"Internet connection is as important to modern life as veins are to your body's healthy functioning."

There’s a nationwide movement afoot to help the US up its game in the speed department. The broadband industry is working on the next generation of broadband—the 10G platform—ramping-up broadband capacity from the one-gigabit speeds widely available today to 10 gigabits per second. The industry claims that 10G will also provide faster symmetrical speeds, lower latencies, enhanced reliability, and agile security.

"With groundbreaking, scalable capacity and speeds, the 10G platform is the wired network of the future that will power the digital experiences and imaginations of consumers for years to come," said Michael Powell, the CEO of the industry group The Internet & Television Association, said in a news release.

"As an industry, we are dedicated to delivering an exceptional national infrastructure that will power digital advancement and propel our innovation economy into the future."

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