Utah Foundation: Almost All Utahns Can Access Broadband Service
Utah’s internet infrastructure has better than 95% coverage for residents to access broadband service. Only eight other states reach this standard according to a new study by the non-profit research group Utah Foundation.Broadband service is defined as data speeds of 25 Mbps or greater. Shawn Teigen is research director for the Utah Foundation. He says they also found state and federal government commitments to a healthy internet infrastructure are major factors in broadband coverage.
“At least it wouldn’t exist until maybe the community was large enough or until there was some other sort of technology that was really reaching out there,” says Teigen.
Teigen points to the Utah Education and Telehealth Network as a major factor in bringing high-speed internet to rural Utah while he says the struggles of UTOPIA and “iProvo” have resulted in overall positive outcomes in urban areas. “There was a learning curve and we jumped in pretty early in Utah and in many ways’,” says Teigen, we’ve been on the cutting edge of internet and broadband ever since the beginning.”
Teigen says Comcast, CenturyLink and Google have also had major impacts. But he points to the digital divide as the state’s ongoing challenge. He says only 61% of Utahns in rural areas have high speed internet while 98% of those in cities have it.