While many Bay Area residents can get home Internet access at blazingly fast speeds, tens of thousands of others in the region lack basic access to wired broadband, a report released Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission showed.
In the Bay Area, Marin County residents are those most likely to not be able to get a wired broadband connection. Sonoma, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties also have large numbers of residents that lack access.
Those residents are among some 19 million Americans who don't have access to wired broadband. Although that number is down from 26 million last year, it shows that the government and broadband providers have work left to do, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
Genachowski noted that he recently visited some rural communities in Nevada and California that will soon have access to broadband services."The residents and business owners I met with in California and Nevada will finally get broadband in the coming months -- but millions more, especially in rural areas and Tribal lands, are still waiting," he said.
Of concern to the commission is not just the deployment of broadband, but also its adoption. Only about 40 percent of Americans have home Internet access with download speeds of 3 megabits per second or greater, according to the report. The FCC considers broadband to be download speeds 4 megabits per second or greater.
For the third consecutive year, the FCC
It's a contentious position. Two of the commission's five members voted against the report's conclusions, and the conclusions were dubbed "inaccurate" by Broadband for America, an industry lobbying group.
The commission's report focuses too much on those who lack broadband and not enough on the investments made by broadband providers to improve access and speeds, the group said in a statement. Already, according to the report, 89 percent of Americans have access to broadband with download speeds of at least 10 megabits per second and 27 percent -- including some in the Bay Area -- have access to broadband with speeds of at least 100 megabits per second.
"The private sector continues to do its part," said Broadband for America co-chairman John Sununu. "Rather than misrepresent this record, our government should be working with us to identify the best approach to reach the small percentage of rural homes without broadband access."
The numbers and percentages of residents lacking broadband access varies widely among the nine Bay Area counties. At the high end, there's Marin, where some 9,952 residents -- about 4 percent of the county's population, can't get wired broadband, according to the FCC report. Sonoma, Contra Costa and San Mateo counties each had at least 6,000 residents that lacked broadband access at home.
On the other extreme, there's San Francisco, where every one of its 817,287 residents can get home broadband access if they desire it. Santa Clara and Napa counties each had fewer than 700 residents that lacked broadband access.
Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285. Follow him at Twitter.com/troywolv.