In 2007, two thirds of households had internet service with only 5% still relying on dial-up from their ISP. The state's average download speed in 2009 was 8.6 mbps, up from 6.4 mbps the previous year and putting it in fourth place.
The improved performance has stemmed from efforts over the years, resulting from a 2007 survey that analyzed broadband internet services. This found that 63 of the 351 towns and cities in the state had only a partial broadband service and 32 had no access to high speed internet. A total of 220,000 residences and over 25,000 businesses were without access.
The outcome was the creation of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute in 2008, which was provided with $40 million of public funding to create a broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. This recognized that internet providers were unlikely to invest heavily in sparsely populated regions. Consequently, the funding was to be used to construct conduits, fiber optic cable and towers for wireless internet access.
Currently, wifi hotspots are almost all confined to the Boston metropolitan area with very little coverage in the east of the state. Most other access is through DSL or cable, although Verizon announced an extension of its 3G service in November 2009. The Gates Foundation has also been working to improve services in public libraries.
In November 2009, Massachusetts was awarded $1.5 million for data collection and mapping plus a further $0.5 million for planning. Earlier in the year, a start had been made on mapping with the launch of a tool using Google mapping that enabled users to pinpoint their location and indicate the type of access from their internet provider.
Most of the state is upland and agricultural output includes seafood, dairy products and nursery stock; it is the second largest cranberry producer in the US. The economy has moved from manufacturing to services, with higher education, biotechnology, finance, healthcare and tourism being important sectors.
Boston, the state capital and largest city, was the center of the American Revolution. Around two thirds of the 6.4 million population of Massachusetts live in the Boston metropolitan area. Other large cities are Worcester, Springfield and Lowell.
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Cities in Massachusetts likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Lowell and Cambridge. Locations in MA 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.