Cell phones, apps, connected TVs, tablets, streaming media devices:  they all need broadband internet connections to be used to their full potential.  Yet, according to the a study by The NPD Group, nearly a third of Americans don’t have that kind of internet connection.

NPD defines broadband as having at least a 25Mbps download speed or greater.

That means 100 million consumers don’t have broadband under that definition.  It’s an example of what they call the “digital divide.”  The vast majority of those 100 million people are living in rural areas.

“The so-called digital divide, between those that can or cannot make the best use of the Internet, can be clearly felt in rural markets where the lack of broadband impacts everything from entertainment to the educational system,” said Eddie Hold, president, NPD Connected Intelligence, via news release. “And even the state level data masks the underlying reality that in the most rural markets in America, less than 20 percent of households have a broadband connection.

Gains Have Been Made, But…

The number of rural households that have access to broadband has nearly doubled since 2007, according to a Pew Research Center survey.  Despite the gains, however, many living in rural areas still say access to high-speed internet is a “major problem” where they live.  In total, 58% of rural Americans say high speed internet access is problem in their area.