Charleston, West Virginia (WVNS) — According to a study by online VPN (Virtual Private Network) Surfshark, Southern and Western states tend to overpay for their own Internet, with West Virginia having among the highest-rated Internet in the country.
Most northeastern states have fair internet rates by comparison.
Surfshark recently released the US Internet Value Index (IVi), which is calculated by dividing each state’s internet speed by internet affordability to identify countries that overpay for their internet connections. The table above shows that the southern and western states pay significantly more than the northeastern coast and west coast.
West Virginia is one of the worst performing states, ranking fifth from the bottom of the US in terms of internet value. In states like Vermont (45th) and New Mexico (44th), people are treated to fairer internet prices. Essentially, the study reveals a large disparity between rural and urban countries in terms of the value of the internet, which highlights the digital divide in the country.
“Affordable and fast Internet is crucial these days – school children need it to keep up with homework and participate in online classes, and remote workers need it to do their work effectively. Yet 3 in 4 rural states are at a disadvantage when it comes access to fair internet prices, further insulating them from the opportunities enjoyed by richer, more urban nations.”
Agnieszka Sablovskaya, Principal Investigator at Surfshark
Below is a map of internet pricing in the US, compiled by Surfshark’s Internet Value Index (IVi).
The south has the most affordable internet in the country. West Virginia is among the worst performing states in the region with an Internet Value Index of 0.38 (28% below the region average and 35% below the US average). Neighboring Virginia leads West Virginia by 14 places:
- Virginians have to work one minute to provide 3.5 megabits per second of mobile internet. Meanwhile, West Virginians run 1 minute and 48 seconds (80% more) for the same internet quality.
- Fortunately, West Virginians do better than Virginia in broadband: West Virginians have to work an hour to withstand 18.5 megabits per second of broadband internet. Meanwhile, Virginians work 1 hour and 9 minutes (15% more) for the same internet quality.
New Jersey has the best internet value out of all the US states. New Jersey residents only have to work 1 minute to provide 5.5 Mbps for mobile Internet, and 1 hour to provide 45 Mbps for broadband Internet.
West Virginia’s index is 61.9% lower than that of New Jersey – West Virginians work 185% more for the same quality mobile internet, and 143% more for broadband.
A state’s Internet value index is affected by many factors, such as economic status, population density, percentage of urban area, and whether or not a country is landlocked.
Of four US regions, the South performed the worst in terms of internet value – 3 out of 5 states are located in the South. The West and Midwest perform slightly better but are still below the US average. Meanwhile, the Northeastern states get the best internet value, with an average index 30% higher than the US average.