These 10 states have the best internet access

American adults spend more than 10 hours a day on looking at screens, according to a 2016 report from Nielsen Company. Much of that screen time – on smartphones, tablets, personal computers, TVs and other devices – requires an internet connection. Whether for work, school or entertainment, not being connected is not an option for many.

Eight of the top-10 states for internet access also rank in the top half of states for both education and economy, indicating the necessity of a reliable internet connection to a state's competitiveness. Lack of internet access, accordingly, can create significant barriers.

Nationally, 81 percent of households have a broadband internet subscription, according to the 2015 Census, and 65 percent of Americans have access to download speeds greater than 100 megabits per second. The average download speed was 31 Mbps in 2014, the year for which data were pulled for this metric, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Download speeds have increased consistently in recent years.

The National Broadband Map determined a state's access to fast download speeds by measuring the coverage of major internet providers in the state. Those two metrics – percentage of households with a broadband internet subscription and percentage of a state population with access to fast download speed – were used to determine the Best States for internet access.

These 10 states – four in New England alone – have the best internet access in the nation.

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10 states with the best internet access
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10 states with the best internet access

10. Minnesota

Households with broadband internet subscription: 85 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 86 percent

Minnesota, the No. 3 overall state, also ranks among the best for education, economy and opportunity. It boasts the No. 1 labor force participation rate in the country, with about 70 percent of residents 16 and older employed.

9. Oregon

Households with broadband internet subscription: 85 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 87 percent

Oregon, while ranking 22nd for education, places 15th for economy.

(jose1983 via Getty Images)

8. Maryland

Households with broadband internet subscription: 85 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 89 percent

Maryland also ranks in the top five for education and opportunity, with the highest median household income in the nation: $75,847 in 2015.

(JacobH via Getty Images)

7. New Hampshire

Households with broadband internet subscription: 88 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 75 percent

Though New Hampshire ranks 23rd for download speed, it’s the No. 1 state for percentage of households with an internet subscription.

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

6. Rhode Island

Households with broadband internet subscription: 84 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 100 percent

A greater share of Rhode Islanders – 100 percent – enjoy access to fast download speeds than residents of any other state. That’s far above the average of 84 percent in New England and 65 percent in the U.S. overall. Still, Rhode Island ranks 31st for education and 18th for economy.

(sgoodwin4813 via Getty Images)

5. New Jersey

Households with broadband internet subscription: 86 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 96 percent

New Jersey, which places second for education and 25th for economy, has some of the best internet access in the nation.

(jsmith via Getty Images)

4. Utah

Households with broadband internet subscription: 87 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 93 percent

Utah ranks ninth for education and fourth for economy. With a rapidly growing population in recent years, the state has emphasized using technology to make government as efficient as possible.

(Mikefahl via Getty Images)

3. Connecticut

Households with broadband internet subscription: 87 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 97 percent

While its economy places 38th – the worst among the top-10 Best States for internet access – Connecticut boasts a No. 4 education ranking and one of the highest median household incomes in the country: $71,346 in 2015.

2. Washington

Households with broadband internet subscription: 88 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 96 percent

Washington ranks seventh for education and 11th for economy, with its job and gross domestic product growth rates among the highest in the nation.

(moodboard via Getty Images)

1. Massachusetts

Households with broadband internet subscription: 87 percent
Population with access to fast download speed: 97 percent

Massachusetts, the No. 1 state overall, ranks first for education and fifth for economy.

(AlbertPego via Getty Images)

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Copyright 2017 U.S. News & World Report

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