This Map Reveals the Fastest Internet in Your Area
Looking for the fastest internet around? The FCC's National Broadband Map can help you compare providers and find high-speed internet in your area.
We live in the online age. So whether we’re streaming our favorite TV shows, working from home or the office, social networking, gaming or doing one of a thousand other tasks, reliable high-speed internet is essential. It’s so necessary, in fact, that public Wi-Fi is widespread—we can even get Wi-Fi access on airplanes.
Thankfully, affordable high-speed internet is readily available throughout most of the United States. To make fast internet even easier to find, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a valuable tool called the National Broadband Map, which provides information about broadband availability across the United States. With it, you can search for internet service providers, view coverage areas and speeds at a glance and quickly identify the fastest internet provider in your neighborhood.
If you’ve recently checked your internet speed and found it lacking, you’re in luck. With this map, you can gain insight into the quality of internet service available in your region, shop for deals and more. Keep reading to find out why internet speed matters in the first place, plus how to use the FCC’s map to find fast, reliable service near you.
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Why does internet speed matter?
The term internet speed refers to the rate at which data is transmitted over an internet connection, measured in megabits per second (Mbps). You might not give yours much thought as you scroll social media or binge six seasons of your favorite TV series, but the speed of your internet connection does matter. A good internet speed ensures smoother browsing, faster downloads and uploads, and seamless streaming.
Fast internet is always a plus, but higher speeds are particularly desirable for high-bandwidth online activities. For instance, if you engage in video calls or online meetings, a high-speed connection ensures clear audio and video quality and reduces lag. Online gamers rely on fast internet speeds and advanced routers to maintain a lag-free gaming experience. Additionally, fast internet speeds enable quicker access to online resources, support efficient file sharing and allow for more productive remote work.
How fast is fast?
The cheapest internet packages typically offer download speeds of 10 to 40 Mbps, which is enough for basic browsing and streaming. Download rates for so-called high-speed plans start at around 200 to 300 Mbps and reach up to 1,000 Mbps or more. These ultra-high-speed plans are commonly called “gigabit internet,” as they boast speeds of at least one gigabit per second (1 Gbps), which is equivalent to 1,000 Mbps.
What determines your internet speed?
An important thing to keep in mind is that your internet plan determines the maximum speed, not your networking equipment. That said, buying a faster router and modem can help you tap into the greatest speeds your plan allows. Available internet speed depends on local infrastructure, so plans vary by geography.
How do you use the FCC’s map?
You’d like to stream the season’s most buzzed-about movie, but Netflix won’t load … again. And when it does load, the quality isn’t great because your connection speed is slow. It may be time to hunt for faster internet service. Enter the National Broadband Map.
This tool makes finding the fastest local internet service provider pretty straightforward. Enter your address or ZIP code, and the map will display a comprehensive overview of providers and their respective speeds in your area. This makes it easy to identify the best service based on your needs and online habits.
Ready to give it a go? You can search your address straightaway, or test it out with the most famous house in America: the White House.
When you enter your personal address, you’ll simply type it into the search bar and select the address that pops up. For landmarks like the White House, click the “Location” button beneath the search bar. Type “The White House” into the search bar, then click the first item on the drop-down menu. Although you won’t be able to see any available plans for the White House itself, as you would for your own home, you can see that the area has full residential broadband service. Click any of the green dots, and you’ll see the available plans in the area, which max out at a 1,200-Mbps plan from Comcast.
What else can you do with the FCC’s map?
Now that you understand the ins and outs of internet speed, it’s time to explore the ways you can make the most of this information—beyond simply enjoying fast internet. The tricks below are just a few of the ways you can use information gleaned from National Broadband Map to your advantage.
- Identify the fastest provider: Say goodbye to slow internet. The map helps you identify the fastest local internet service provider, so you can make the best decision when signing up for internet service. By comparing them side by side in one place, you can easily find the one offering the highest speeds.
- Shopping for deals: Unfortunately, the FCC’s National Broadband Map shows only internet service providers’ coverage areas and speeds. You’ll still have to check out each company individually to compare pricing. But the map can help you quickly narrow down your choices. This should save you some time when you do your comparison shopping to find the internet plan that meets your speed and spending requirements.
- Planning relocation: If you’re planning a move, access to high-speed internet may factor into your decision. Using the National Broadband Map, you can evaluate internet speeds available in different areas. This ensures that you can maintain your desired connectivity wherever you live.
The National Broadband Map is a valuable resource for anyone seeking a fast and reliable internet connection. It helps you easily identify the fastest internet service providers in your area. Armed with this information, you can shop around for deals, compare pricing, plan for relocation and find an internet plan that best meets your needs. From there, it’s smooth (web) surfing.