Idaho boasts slowest broadband speeds in the U.S.

Idaho has gained the distinction as being the state with the slowest broadband speeds in all of the United States, according to recent studies released by broadband measurement companies Ookla and Pando Networks.

Ookla broadband speeds Idaho

Idaho averaged 9.42 Mbps downstream and 1.51 Mbps upstream in Ookla's study of U.S. broadband speeds.

Having to mainly rely on Internet connections delivered via microwave connections, Idaho residents and businesses at best can get a "dismal" average Internet speed of about 318 Kbps, according to Pando Networks following a July study of broadband speeds.

Pando Networks also said in its study that Pocatello, Idaho has the slowest connection in the state. In Pocatello, it would take a user at least 12 seconds to download a basic music file. By comparison, broadband users in Andover, Mass. could download the same file in about one second.

The cause of Idaho's slow broadband woes is the lack of population density. Unlike New England states like Rhode Island where there are more than 1,018 people per square mile, Idaho averages 19 people per square mile.

What this means is that service providers such as CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) are less motivated to build in such areas because they won't get the same return on their investment they would get in an urban area.

"We're in business to make a profit," said Jim Schmit, vice president and general manager in Idaho for CenturyLink. Schmit said that 92 percent of CenturyLink customers in Idaho had "access" to broadband, but wouldn't specify how many eligible subscribers currently buy a service from them.  

Of course, when service providers do roll out broadband in mountain areas, technicians sometimes have to travel by snowmobile to deal with issues like bears causing disruption to remote microwave towers.

For more:
- New York Times has this article (sub. req.)
- arstechnica has this article
- see this Pando Networks release

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