BroadbandNow ranks Rolla broadband infrastructure among the bottom 20 percent of connected cities in the U.S. after the latest Federal Communications Commission broadband progress reports placed Rolla as the 22,333rd most connected city in the U.S — out of 26,868 cities.

BroadbandNow connects data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) datasets that providers are legally required to supply twice a year. Two main wired broadband providers serve Rolla. Both offer wired internet access that covers most of Rolla, and there are multiple providers offering business internet options in Rolla. Connectivity options include DSL, cable and fiber.

When it comes to download speeds, BroadbandNow’s Broadband Infrastructure Report released Jan. 29, 2019, found the top 10 percent of download speeds in Rolla clocked in at 62.23 Mbps. This is slower than the state’s top speed of 101.21 Mbps and slower than the national top speed of 100.81 Mbps.

The average download speed in Rolla is 21.80 Mbps — 45.8 percent slower than the average in Missouri and 91 percent slower than the national average. The download speeds were compared based on 320.5 million verified IP speed tests nationwide, 3.7 million verified IP tests in Missouri and 23,954 verified IP tests in Rolla between January 2018 and December 2018.

“Unfortunately, the FCC’s latest reports paint a disappointing picture of internet access in the U.S. Twenty-four million Americans still don’t have access to broadband service, and millions more only have two options for service. In rural areas, download speeds are barely better than dial-up,” Co-founder of BroadbandNow, Nick Reese, said.

There are 12 internet providers in Rolla with five of them specializing in business services. In general, when it comes to competition, 73.2 percent of consumers have access to two wired internet providers, and 22.11 percent of Rolla residents either have no access or access to one wired broadband provider.

Reese notes, this has left residents without a competitive marketplace where there are 7,000 consumers with one or fewer wired broadband providers available at their address.

“If a community wants to grow, affordable internet access is an essential prerequisite, just look at the turnaround in cities like Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Austin, Texas, where fiber internet upstarts have driven down prices and enabled thriving tech industries,” Reese said.

Rolla is the 669th most connected city in Missouri ahead of Newburg; however, Rolla remains behind Vienna, St. Robert, St. James and Dixon. The fastest zip code in Rolla for December 2018 was 65401.

Number of Providers Available to Consumers

Statistics on providers include fixed wireless providers that offer residential service when available in the area.

No residential providers

Rolla: 4.6 percent
Phelps County: 5.4 percent
Missouri: 2 percent
U.S.: 1.2 percent

One residential provider

Rolla: 18.5 percent
Phelps County: 21.8 percent
Missouri: 7.2 percent
U.S.: 5.3 percent

Two residential providers

Rolla: 73.2 percent
Phelps County: 69.6 percent
Missouri: 13 percent
U.S.: 30.8 percent

Three or more residential providers

Rolla: 3.7 percent
Phelps County: 3.3 percent
Missouri: 77.7 percent
U.S.: 58.1 percent

Coverage Type

Wired (all types)

Rolla: 80.6 percent
Phelps County: 75.8 percent
Missouri: 82.3 percent
U.S.: 96.5 percent

Fiber Optic

Rolla: 1.4 percent
Phelps County: 1 percent
Missouri: 22.4 percent
U.S.: 27.1 percent