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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