No business — or home — can operate today without internet service. Businesses connect with customers over the internet. And when the pandemic shut down schools last year, families realized how important it was to have reliable broadband to provide education to their children.
So important has broadband access become that President Joe Biden included it in his infrastructure plan. The plan calls for spending $100 million over the next eight years to extend broadband to 30 million Americans, about 30% of which live in rural areas. The plan also aims to reduce broadband costs in urban and suburban areas where internet is readily available.
Many large cities, however, already provide reliable internet service to a majority of their households. To identify the American cities with the best and most reliable internet access, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the broadband access ranking of metro areas with populations over 60,000 from the Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities 2021. Total population figures are one-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.
The Milken Institute based its internet ranking on the share of households with any form of broadband access. In these cities, the percentage of households with broadband access is at least 91%.
Americans generally pay higher prices for internet access compared to other countries. According to data research firm BroadbandSearch, Americans pay an average of $61.07 a month for internet, which ranks us 28th among 117 countries reviewed.
For businesses and families, that’s a price worth paying if the internet connection is speedy, does not break down, and if the provider has a backup server when there’s an interruption in service. With so many businesses operating in different locations and employees working from home, staying connected to the internet is essential. Of course, to access the internet, you need a computer. See the cost of a computer every year since 1970.
If you want the best and most reliable internet access, move to one of these cities. Not surprisingly, most are in the Western U.S. where the tech industry is concentrated. Eight cities in California made it on the list, followed by four in Colorado and three in Washington state. Of the top three, two are in Washington — Bremerton (No. 1) and the Seattle metro area (No. 3). No. 2 is also a Western metropolis — Ogden, Utah. Utah also placed three cities on the list. Are any of these cities among America’s 50 best cities to live?