The Washington Post

The fastest and slowest Internet speeds in America

Average Internet speeds by congressional district (courtesy Gizmodo)

The tiny town of Ephrata, Wash., is home to just 7,664 residents. It has six public schools, an Amtrak station and one tiny newspaper, the Grant County Journal. It also has the fastest broadband Internet in America.

That’s according to Net Index, a measure of Internet speed maintained by Ookla, a software and broadband testing company based in Seattle and Kalispell, Mont. The company’s software tests Internet download speeds across the country, and for the first half of last year, it found Ephrata’s average download speed of 85.5 megabits per second was far faster than anywhere else in the country.

Kansas City came in second, the study found, at an average speed of 49.9 Mbps. Both cities have help: Ephrata is home to iFiber Communications, a broadband company that covers four sparsely populated rural Washington counties. And in 2011, Google chose Kansas City to be the guinea pig in an experiment to bring ultra high-speed Internet access to metro areas.

Gizmodo crunched Ookla’s numbers in a study last fall, which found the slowest speeds in the northern Arizona communities of Chinle and Fort Defiance, both small towns in Apache County with heavily Native American populations. In both cities, download speeds were about 1.5 Mbps, less than one-tenth the national average of 18.2 Mbps.

Perhaps not surprisingly, big cities and more urban areas are more likely to benefit from faster download speeds, while rural communities are more likely to see that little buffering icon spin around constantly. Appalachia suffers from some of the slowest download speeds in the country, while the I-95 corridor in the Northeast is most likely to zip right along the information superhighway.

Reid Wilson covers national politics and Congress for The Washington Post. He is the author of Read In, The Post’s morning tip sheet on politics.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Debbi Wilgoren · January 9, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.