CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) – According to a study by online VPN (Virtual Private Network) Surfshark, Southern and Western states tend to overpay for their internet, with West Virginia among the most overpriced internet in the country.

Most Northeastern states enjoy fair internet prices in comparison.

Surfshark recently released the U.S. Internet Value Index (IVi), which is calculated by dividing each state’s internet speed by internet affordability to determine which states are overpaying for their internet connections. The above table shows that southern and western states are paying far more than the Northeast and the west coast.

West Virginia is one of the worst-performing states, ranking 5th from the bottom in the U.S by internet value. In states like Vermont (45th) and New Mexico (44th), people are treated to much fairer internet prices. The study mainly reveals a large disparity between rural and urban states in terms of internet value, highlighting the country’s digital divide.

“Affordable and fast internet is crucial these days – schoolchildren need it to keep up with their homework and take part in online classes, and remote workers need it to perform their work effectively. However, 3 out of 4 rural states are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting fair internet prices, further isolating them from the opportunities that wealthier and more urban states have.”

Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark

Below is a map of U.S. internet pricing, compiled by Surfshark’s Internet Value Index (IVi).

The South has the most overpriced internet in the country. West Virginia is among the worst-performing states in the region with an Internet Value Index of 0.38 (28% lower than the region’s average and 35% lower than the U.S. average). Neighboring Virginia outranks West Virginia by 14 places:

  • Virginians have to work 1 minute to afford 3.5 Mbps of mobile internet. Meanwhile, West Virginians work 1 minute 48 seconds (80% more) for the same quality internet.
  • Luckily, West Virginians perform better than Virginia in broadband: West Virginians have to work 1 hour to afford 18.5 Mbps of broadband internet. Meanwhile, Virginians work 1 hour 9 minutes (15% more) for the same quality internet.

New Jersey has the best internet value out of all U.S. states. New Jerseyans have to work only 1 minute to afford 5.5 Mbps of mobile internet, and 1 hour to afford 45 Mbps of broadband internet.

West Virginia’s index is 61.9% lower than New Jersey’s – West Virginians work 185% more for the same quality of mobile internet, and 143% more for broadband.

A state’s Internet Value Index is influenced by many factors, such as economic position, population density, percentage of urban area, and whether a state is landlocked or not.

Out of four U.S. regions, the South performs the worst in terms of internet value — 3 of the bottom 5 states are in the South. The West and Midwest perform slightly better but are still below the U.S. average. Meanwhile, Northeastern states get the best internet value, with an average index 30% higher than the U.S. average.