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Millions in US still lagging along with slow internet speed

An FCC report shows that nearly half of Americans are still stuck with below-broadband data connections.

This is what the internet feels like for millions of Americans.

Erwin Wodicka/Getty Images

You're not the only one with a crappy internet connection.

Millions of Americans are trudging from website to website, with sluggish internet speeds, the Federal Communications Commission said in its biannual report on internet access connections (PDF).

Nearly half of the 102 million fixed connections in the US run at speeds below 25 megabits per second, the FCC's standard for broadband speed. When the agency first set the new benchmark, in January 2015, the average speed of service delivered was 10 Mbps in the US. By the end of that year, the average speed reported was 25 Mbps, according to the FCC. The average speed may've gone up, but a lot of people are still struggling.

Here's the breakdown on the poky linkups.

Six million households in the US are struggling with internet speeds slower than 3 Mbps. To put that in perspective, Netflix recommends at least 3 Mbps if you want to stream content in standard quality. Anyone with less than 5 Mbps can forget about watching anything in HD online.

Seventeen million US internet connections were faster than 3 Mbps but slower than 10 Mbps, the recommended speed if you want to stream HD and have more than one device online in the house.

Another 25 million people have internet speeds faster than 10 Mbps but slower than 25 Mbps, the FCC's standard for broadband.

That totals up to 48 million sub-broadband connections.

The situation is similar for upload speeds, with 42 percent of users falling below the FCC's 3 Mbps threshold.

It doesn't help that nearly one-third of US neighborhoods don't have access to any internet providers that offer broadband connectivity.

Still, despite the scores of people lacking broadband data, and the many Americans with tortoiselike internet speeds, the number of users with fast connections is rising. Up to 43 million more people had speeds faster than 25 Mbps in 2015 compared with 2012. At the same time, the number of people with download speeds of less than 3 Mbps has decreased by 13 million users.

The growth falls in line with the FCC's National Broadband Plan, which calls for 100 million Americans to be hooked up to 100 Mbps connections by 2020. By 2015's end, only 15.4 million Americans had a connection of at least 100 Mbps.

If 2016 follows the trend of the last four years, it's likely that number will have increased. This year's FCC report has information only from 2015; the agency collects data from the year prior in its wrap-up.

The real challenge will be getting that kind of speed on mobile devices. Of the 355 million US internet connections logged in 2015, 71 percent came from 253 million mobile devices going online. But mobile devices have struggled to break through to broadband speeds, as the industry inches toward 5G wireless.

Right now the fastest wireless speed in the US is about 12 Mbps, less than half of the FCC's requirement for broadband. Verizon has promised that 5G would be 30 to 50 times faster than our current 4G network.