Study Says 'Disconnected Dozen' States Lack Broadband Internet Access

Millions of Americans across the country, particularly those in rural and poor communities, do not have access to broadband Internet service, according to a study released earlier this week by the iAdvance Coalition.

iAdvance, co-chaired by former White House press secretary Mike McCurry, is a lobbying group in favor of an openly competitive broadband Internet market. The organization said telecommunications regulations have hindered the arrival of high-speed Internet backbone hubs, which are the places where users connect to the Internet, in places not directly associated with major financial markets or densely populated areas.

"The report found that restrictions on data transmissions have slowed the growth of the Internet," said iAdvance spokesman Matthew Miller. "High-speed access is needed to run applications that are crucial to taking part in the digital economy."

The report, funded mostly by iAdvance telecommunications members Bell Atlantic and SBC Communications, also named the 12 states with the fewest hubs.

The "Disconnected Dozen" are: Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.

"States who do not have high-speed access are at a significant disadvantage to those that do in everything from business to consumers who are looking to benefit from the emerging digital economy," Miller said.

The report said there are more than 1,000 hubs across the country, but less than 100 of those are in nonmetropolitan areas, and most of those are in university towns.

If all lines were not regulated, Maine would have 29 hubs and South Dakota would have 33, according to the report. Neither state currently has a hub.

The complete report can be found at the coalition's Web site at www.iadvance.org/background.

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