An average download speed of 5.8 mbps in 2009 ranked Florida seventeenth, down five places from the previous year despite an increase in speed from 5.1 mbps. Almost two thirds of households had internet service in 2007, with 11% still using dial-up from their internet provider.
The 2009 Florida State Statutes authorized the Department of Management Services to assess the state's broadband service and develop a plan to increase availability. To do this, it has applied for NTIA funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. A particular aim is to improve broadband internet services availability in rural areas as well as to encourage investment in unserved areas so there is a choice of internet providers.
The state has already received a $9.1 million grant from the Federal Communications Commission to establish high speed services for healthcare communications in rural areas. This will help to develop wireless internet access for healthcare providers in remote communities.
A law passed in 2007 allows telecommunications companies to compete directly with cable franchises, prompting AT&T to invest $750 million into a fiber optic cable development that provides better performance than DSL. Verizon Wireless completed statewide coverage of its advanced wireless network in 2008 and plans to roll out 4G wifi in 2010. The ISP claims to have spent more than $2 billion in network enhancements in the state since being founded in 2000.
Known as the Sunshine State because of its tropical and sub-tropical climate, Florida nevertheless suffers from extreme weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are common from late spring until early fall and Central Florida has more lighting strikes than anywhere else in the country. The state also has more tornadoes per square mile and hurricanes threaten from early June until late November.
The combination of warm weather and numerous beaches attracts 60 million visitors every year. The Walt Disney World Resort is the largest vacation resort in the world and there are numerous theme parks. The state produces most of the citrus fruit grown in the US as well as 75% of the phosphate used by the country's farmers. There are 24 military bases in the state and it has a large aerospace industry. Tallahassee is the state capital and its four largest cities are Jacksonville, Miami (the world's largest cruise ship port), Tampa and St Petersburg.
You can check for providers in your city using our search function: Jacksonville Internet Service Providers
Cities in Florida likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Jacksonville, Miami, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Orlando, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale, Tallahassee, Cape Coral, Port Saint Lucie, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Coral Springs, Gainesville, Miami Gardens, Miramar, Clearwater, Pompano Beach and Palm Bay. Locations in FL with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.