Originally published by HighSpeedInternet.com.
HighSpeedInternet.com’s internet speed test shows the national average internet speed in 2023 is 171.30Mbps.
However, Wi-Fi speeds are not equal across every state. While many parts of the country have ample access to gigabit fiber speeds and affordable 5G connections, other areas suffer from the effects of the digital divide of limited infrastructure and few provider options. You can look for a faster internet provider in your area, but sometimes you just can’t get the internet speed you need.
We ranked each state (and Washington, D.C.) by the fastest average internet speeds. Read on to see how your state measures up.
The average U.S. internet speed in 2023
Internet speeds around the country keep getting faster every year. According to our speed test data, this year’s average nationwide internet speed is 44% faster compared to 2022, when the average speed was 119.03Mbps.
Internet speeds have been on a steady incline for years, and speeds really ramped up since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Internet providers have diversified plan options and ramped up efforts to expand fiber-optic networks, making it possible to now offer plans capable of eye-popping max speeds: 1Gbps, 2Gbps, and even 5Gbps.
Many Americans still get modest speeds
It’s worth noting that only a small minority of internet customers actually spring for higher priced gigabit offerings.
Just look at the numbers in our speed test. America’s median speed (meaning the number that sits in the middle of the entire batch of speed tests) is just 90.96Mbps. That’s a significant drop compared to the average of 171.30Mbps.
The disparity between the two figures suggests that the majority of internet users still order relatively modest internet packages with speeds of 200Mbps or below, usually due to factors like price and availability.
Which U.S. state has the fastest internet?
As was the case last year, states along the Eastern Seaboard continue to lead in internet speed. Seven of the top 10 fastest states this year are located in New England or the New York Tri-State area. Two of the states (Florida and South Carolina) are also on the East Coast, just farther south.
Connecticut gets average download speeds of just over 194Mbps and median speeds of 119.13Mbps. New Jersey gets a faster average download speed (202.2Mbps) but a slightly slower median speed (118.57Mbps). Florida comes in close behind with 185.24Mbps average speeds and 115.58Mbps median speeds.
Why so fast? Connecticut, New Jersey, Florida, and Delaware are some of the most densely populated states in the country, which vastly improves their chances for getting top-quality internet service. Internet providers tend to prioritize areas with a lot of customers to justify the cost of expanding network access and offering competitive deals.
Which U.S. state saw internet speeds improve the most?
Unlike many of its New England neighbors, Vermont has some of the slowest internet speeds in the country. But the Green Mountain State managed to see the biggest improvement in internet speed over the past year, with the state’s median download speeds still jumped by over 68% since last year, from 36.03Mbps to 60.81Mbps.
The rural state is seeing such rapid growth in part thanks to a strategy adopted by state lawmakers in 2015 to establish “communications union districts” that can provide high-speed internet service in local areas. Essentially, rather than wait for privately owned internet providers to lay out networks, Vermonters built the networks themselves.
North Dakota has embraced a similar approach, relying on rural internet cooperatives and government investment to build out internet infrastructure. So it makes sense why North Dakota also saw a 68% improvement in speed over the past year. Our speed data shows that the state’s median download speed went from 52.65Mbps to the current 88.51Mbps.
Alaska, West Virginia, and Kansas also saw massive improvements in internet speed last year. Considering that Alaska and West Virginia also rank first and second for the slowest speeds in America, respectively, these improvements suggest that Wi-Fi may be slowly but surely getting better for everyone.
Which U.S. state has the slowest internet?
The states with the slowest speeds are mostly rural with relatively low population density—a reminder that America’s digital divide comes into stark focus in remote parts of the country.
Alaska has an average download speed of 112.39Mbps, a number that is likely brought up thanks to fixed wireless and fiber availability in Anchorage, the state’s biggest city. Many Alaskans clearly get much slower internet than that, with the median speed being just 35.51Mbps.
West Virginia, Montana, and Idaho also get low median speeds: 45.87Mbps, 46.84Mbps, and 51.15Mbps (respectively).
The Federal Communications Commission has pledged to increase access to affordable, high-speed internet options, with a goal of first boosting minimum speed standards and eventually providing 100% internet access nationwide. The government can focus its energies on these states first.
How do you get faster internet speeds?
The internet speeds you can get depend most heavily on what’s available in your area. Internet providers have to make big investments to build fast fiber-optic networks and 5G networks, and some communities end up underserved.
But there’s still a lot you can do to boost your home internet speeds. Here are some recommendations.
- Close out unnecessary browser windows and apps when you’re not using them.
- Move your router to a centralized location in your house, so your Wi-Fi signal connects better to all of your devices.
- Switch to the 5GHz frequency band on your router for a smoother connection.
- Upgrade your router to a model with Wi-Fi 6 standards, which can route bandwidth better and handle more users.
- Choose a faster internet plan—or switch to a faster internet provider.
- Remove bandwidth-hogging Wi-Fi devices from your network.