Rhode Island's small size is a big advantage when it comes to providing an internet service. The relatively short distances make it easier and more cost-justifiable for internet providers to supply a reliable broadband service in a number of forms that include DSL. As a result, the state's average download speed in 2009 was 9.8 mbps, with only 7% of those surveyed reporting a speed below the broadband standard of 768 kbps. The 2009 average was an improvement from 9.3 mbps the previous year although the state dropped from top spot to second. The level of internet use in the home in 2007 was around average at 66% but only 6.6% still relied on dial-up from their ISP.
In response to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Rhode Island created its own Office of Economic Recovery and Reinvestment. This in turn set up a Broadband Review Team to develop goals and guidelines for broadband internet services and determine the best way to obtain and use federal funding. The team held a series of public workshops and eventually submitted its grant applications in October 2009.
In December 2009, the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation was awarded $1.5 million by the NTIA, $1 million for a two-year mapping program and the rest for planning over a five-year period. The outcome should be an improvement to what is already one of the best high speed broadband infrastructures in the US.
Internet provider AT&T announced in February 2009 an expansion to its 3G network, increasing wifi coverage across the state. The company has invested $60 million during 2006-8 in its Rhode Island wireless internet access network. The state is one of the sixteen where Verizon's FiOS fiber optic cable service is available.
Despite its name, most of Rhode Island, the smallest US state by area, is on the mainland. It is mostly flat and has hot, rainy summers and chilly winters.
Rhode Island was the first of the original colonies to declare independence and the last to ratify the US Constitution. The economy was originally based on fishing and farming but health services is now the largest industry followed by tourism and manufacturing. The state has the lowest level of per capita energy consumption. The state capital of Providence is the largest city, followed by Warwick, Cranston and Pawtucket.
Cities in Rhode Island likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Providence, Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket, East Providence and Woonsocket. Locations in RI 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.