Detroit and Cleveland are among the 25 worst-connected U.S. cities

… and so are Akron, Dayton, Cincinnati and Toledo.

In September, the U.S. Census published the first round of results from its 2013 American Community Survey (ACS).  For the first time, the 2013 ACS included data on household computer ownership and Internet access.  This data is currently available only for “places”, i.e. cities, with 65,000 or more residents.

CYC 2.0 staff has analyzed the household Internet data for the 176 U.S. cities that have 50,000 or more households.  We wanted to know which cities have the most households:

  • with no home Internet access of any kind (including dial-up, mobile access,  etc.), and
  • with no “fixed broadband” connections such as DSL or cable modem accounts, satellite access, fiber to the home, etc.

We’ve put together a list of the 25 big cities where the Census data shows the highest percentages of households lacking access by each of these definitions.  You’ll find both lists below.

Here are some things we learned:

1) Detroit was the #1 worst-connected city on the list for fixed broadband access, and the second worst (behind Laredo, Texas) for home Internet access of any kind.  The Census found that 57% of Detroit households lacked any kind of fixed broadband Internet account (DSL, cable, etc.) in 2013.

2) Cleveland came in at #5 worst for fixed broadband access, and #7 worst for all kinds of home access.  51% of Cleveland households lacked fixed broadband access in 2013, according to the ACS data.

3) Five of Ohio’s six biggest cities (all except Columbus) were among the nation’s top 25 worst-connected for Net access of all kinds, and four (all except Columbus and Toledo) made the list for households lacking fixed broadband connections. (In the latter category Toledo was #26.)

4) The four Ohio cities on both lists — Cleveland, Dayton, Akron, and Cincinnati — are all slated to be “divested” to Charter Communications if the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable gets FCC approval.  So is Milwaukee (16th worst-connected in fixed home broadband, 20th worst in home access of any kind.)  St. Louis and Birmingham — the two big, poor cities that Charter now serves and plans to keep in its proposed “swap” with Comcast — are also on both of our lists. If its deal with Comcast and Time Warner gets FCC approval, Charter could end up serving seven of the nation’s 25 worst-connected big cities by this time next year.

So here they are — America’s 25 worst-connected cities.

top 25 no fixed bbtop 25 no internet

For more information email Bill Callahan at