An average download speed of 2.6 mbps puts Idaho 48th in 2009, little changed from the previous year. Fewer than 60% of households had a broadband service in 2007 while 12% still relied on dial-up from their internet provider. A Federal Communications Commission report suggested a much better situation at 30 June 2007, indicating there were 483,049 high speed lines in the state, of which most were DSL. No wifi information was provided to 'maintain carrier confidentially', suggesting there were few providers. The Commission subsequently increased its definition of broadband internet services from 200 kbps to 768 kbps, calling into question many of the figures.
In February 2008, Idaho passed a bill to provide an improved internet service throughout the state, including underserved areas. This was despite ISP Qwest insisting that most residents could access the service they needed. Syringa Networks, a partnership of twelve independent local exchange carriers, had created a state-wide fiber optic cable network and was discussing a joint project with Verizon, which has the state down for 'future deployment'. At the same time, DigitalBridge Communications announced commercially available wireless internet access that would help underserved communities.
Idaho has been one of the first states to benefit from NTIA funding, with Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology appointed to undertake a $1.8 million mapping and planning program. The Gates Foundation was also providing help to state libraries in 2009 so they could obtain grants to improve their role as internet providers to those with no other access.
Landlocked and mostly mountainous, Idaho is renowned for outdoor activities. It has North America's oldest ski resort, where the world's first chairlift was installed, and is popular for kayaking and white water rafting. The climate is varied and is influenced by the mountains and the ocean. Summers can be very hot with cold winters and Idaho is rich in renewable energy resources, with hydroelectric, geothermal and wind power potential.
The state grows one third of the potatoes produced in the US as well as all three varieties of wheat. It has varied industry, with the largest being the science and technology sector - there are semiconductor manufacturing plants and Dell, HP and Sun Microsystems have sites in Idaho. Boise is the state capital and largest city, followed by Nampa, Pocatello and Idaho Falls.
Cities in Idaho likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Boise, Idaho Falls, Nampa, Pocatello and Meridian. Locations in ID 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.