Connect Greater Newport Broadband Report
In January of 2022, Connect Greater Newport published an analysis of broadband availability in Rhode island conducted by Mission Broadband, Inc. and Reid Consulting Group LLC.
Among the findings:
● Forty two percent of populated square miles of Rhode Island remain unserved or underserved, meaning that 134,000 households and small businesses are not accessing reliable broadband that meets the federal definition of served (defined as speeds equal to or above 100 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up).
● Many small and medium sized businesses face broadband capacity constraints impacting their businesses, including tourist-heavy locations such as the Newport waterfront.
● Lack of in-home internet is correlated with low household income levels.
● Rhode Island, including Newport and Bristol counties, has available middle mile fiber resources which can be leveraged to assist in closing last mile gaps.
This analysis was made possible with funding from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and Rhode Island Office of Innovation. Reid Consulting Group and Mission Broadband integrated multiple data sources, including Ookla® Speedtest Intelligence® records from consumer-initiated measurements, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 477 records, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) business data, E-911 data, U.S. Census, and American Community Survey. The team created visual overlays that are displayed throughout the report.
Access to Affordable and Reliable Broadband is Critical to Equitable Economic Development
Past consumer and business surveys have illuminated challenges with affordable, reliable access to the internet, particularly on Aquidneck Island (Newport County), but have not been definitive.
The pandemic has exacerbated the statewide need for reliable, affordable high-speed broadband for remote learning, telework, telehealth, e-government, and e-commerce. Connect Greater Newport has convened a coalition of stakeholders (Connect Greater Newport Broadband Coalition) to oversee a short-term planning effort to improve and expand access to quality broadband in the Greater Newport region and possibly statewide. This program is funded by philanthropic support from the van Beuren Charitable Foundation.
Greater Newport Broadband Coalition: Invited Members
Jeff Diehl, Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank
Daniela Fairchild, Commerce RI
Stuart Freiman, Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency
Scott Humphreys, Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce
Rhonda Mitchell, Newport Housing Authority
Michael Ricci, Central Falls School Department
Elizabeth Tanner, Department of Business Regulation
Matt Wainwright, Town of Middletown