Internet Speeds by State During the 2020 Quarantine: Rhode Island

We looked at internet speed test data for 2020 so far, and here’s what we found for the state of Rhode Island and the city of Tiverton.

While its average download speeds may not have dropped below the 100 Mbps mark, Rhode Island saw a 29.8% dip in speed from January to September. Speeds measured in at 149.3 Mbps in January, then slowed to 104.8 Mbps in September.

Still, Rhode Island and most of the East Coast see some of the best internet speeds around. Why is that? Likely it’s due to a few factors:

  • The East Coast is home to a large number of the wealthiest cities in the US: Scarsdale, NY; Short Hills, NJ; and Darien, CT, all made the top ten.1 And, unfortunately for small towns, internet providers are more likely to go where the money is.
  • East Coast cities New York, Boston, and Washington, DC, are home to large swaths of our country’s tech industry.2 And tech companies are likely to invest in networks and infrastructure to keep themselves connected.

But not all that glitters is gold when it comes to internet service in Rhode Island.

Tiverton, a suburb of the capital Providence, saw its average download speeds drop faster than the sound a slide whistle makes. Speeds in September hit 20.1 Mbps, which was 69% slower than the speeds of 65.4 Mbps that residents saw in January.

And despite a statewide average download speed over 100 Mbps, some cities still lack adequate access. One such neighborhood is Olneyville, located just outside the capital of Providence. There, only 61% of residents have internet access, spurring some to take action and create a free mesh Wi-Fi network called ONE Neighborhood Connects.3

Sources

  1. Shelly Hagan, Wei Lu, and Sophie Alexander, Bloomberg, “In America’s Richest Town, $500k a Year Is Now Below Average,” February 2020. Accessed October 8, 2020.
  2. Worth, “The 11 Most Important Tech Cities in the U.S.,” December 2019. Accessed October 8, 2020.
  3. Steve Ahlquist, Uprise RI, “One Neighborhood Builders launches community WiFi network in Olneyville,” October 2020. Accessed October 8, 2020.