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Troubles with tech? You’re not alone — The biggest broadband headaches by state

BY Samantha Cossick | Tue Jul 23, 2019
Troubles with tech? You’re not alone — The biggest broadband headaches by state

Internet connection issues can be a problem, especially as more-and-more of our day-to-day life moves online. This includes working from home, catching up on email, keeping up with friends, watching TV and more.

So, where are you more likely to have issues with slow internet and which parts of the country have problems with their Wi-Fi not working? Let’s take a look at the biggest broadband headaches in each state.

State-by-state comparison of broadband issues

Overall, “wifi not working” and “slow internet” were the two biggest broadband headaches in a majority of the states. “Slow internet” was the only search term to show up in all 50 states (plus the District of Columbia), ranging from 18% interest in Louisiana to 100% interest in three states.

Only three states had other topics rank highest — “change wifi password” in Mississippi and Louisiana, “reset router” in Alaska. In West Virginia, both “wifi not working” and “change wifi password” tied for the biggest broadband headache.

How did we determine the biggest broadband headaches?

First, we looked at industry research and Google search term data to determine the top five biggest topics around internet connection problems.

Then we used Google Trends data to determine the largest search term of that topic set. For instance, “slow internet” has the most search volume and also pulls in 25 related queries, such as “internet is slow,” “slow internet speed,” “my internet is slow,” “why internet is slow” and more.

Using this data, we established our top five biggest broadband headaches: slow internet, Wi-Fi not working, reset router, Wi-Fi not connecting and change Wi-Fi password. We ran a comparison of the terms in Google Trends (which tracks all search terms over time and ranks them based on their popularity compared to all other searches) for 12 months from July 15, 2018, to July 13, 2019.

Broadband headache trends

Slow internet

The majority of the states where slow internet was the most searched broadband headache are also areas that have the lowest average download speeds.

Three states — South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota — have 100% of their search interest dedicated to “slow internet.” Another five states have a majority of their search interest related to “slow internet” as well — Alaska, Montana, Vermont, Idaho and Maine.

According to speedtest.net’s 2018 Fixed Broadband Speedtest Data Report, Maine had the slowest average download speed in 2018 at 50.64 Mbps, followed by Wyoming (51.34 Mbps), Montana (55.46 Mbps), Idaho (56.82 Mbps) and Vermont (60.85 Mbps).

They were quick to point out, though: “All five states have low population densities, which makes broadband investments there less cost-effective. While the mean speeds in these states still well exceeded the 25 Mbps needed for 4K streaming, it’s highly likely that there are far too many residents who are not achieving these speeds.”

Wi-Fi not working

The search term “wifi not working” and other related terms — such as “iphone wifi not working,” “my wifi is not working,” “internet not working” and “why is wifi not working” — popped up in 46 states and the District of Columbia, with at least 19% search interest in Iowa, all the way up to 53% in Delaware.

The areas where the term was not of interest (compared to the other terms) include Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota (which, as we saw above, are more concerned with slow internet).

Reset router

Resetting your router is one of those things where you don’t really think about it until you absolutely need to. While many providers recommend you reset your router regularly, most of us don’t. And often when you do have an internet connection problem, the first thing your provider will tell you is to reset your modem and/or router.

So it makes sense that terms like “reset router,” “how to reset router,” “netgear router reset,” “reset wifi router” and “reset internet router” would be a top broadband problem search query in 47 states and the District of Columbia with at least 12% interest in Mississippi to 52% interest in Alaska.

What makes this search term interesting in Alaska is that out of the top five broadband headaches, the state only had search interest in two — 52% for “reset router” and 48% for “slow internet.” Alaska is also one of the only states where developing a network of broadband providers is still an issue.

According to data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Alaska is the only state where a portion of its population doesn’t have access to any providers offering broadband speeds. A little over 13% of Alaska has no providers offering broadband internet, defined by the FCC as speeds of at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. Even when dropping speeds down to 10 Mbps, 12% of the state doesn’t have any providers offering those speeds.

Wi-Fi not connecting

While “wifi not connecting” didn’t make the strongest showing on the map, it was still a common internet problem for 39 states ranging from 9% interest in Mississippi, up to 20% interest in Hawaii.

What’s interesting here is that most of the search terms revolve around specific devices not being able to connect to wireless internet, including “tv not connecting to wifi,” “iphone wifi not connecting,” “laptop not connecting to wifi” and “ipad not connecting to wifi.”

Change Wi-Fi password

For 43 states and the District of Columbia, figuring out how to change your Wi-Fi password is a common broadband headache with interest ranging from 15% in Oregon to 32% in Mississippi.

Related queries for this topic included “change my wifi password” and “how to change password on wifi,” as well as some brand-specific search terms, such as “change xfinity password” and “att change wifi password.”

What’s your biggest broadband headache, and is it the same as your state? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter! And be sure to check out our DIY internet solutions to alleviate some of those headaches.

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