As millions of Americans have made the shift to working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it couldn’t be easier to stay connected — thanks in part to solid advancements in broadband connectivity. However, as many residents of Lyon County know, not everyone has reliable internet access for essential tasks like remote work, education, communicating or event telehealth.

With 18% of the state with no internet service, Kentucky is among the 10 states with the most “internet deserts,” according to U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data analyzed by Seven of the 10 states least connected were in the South, including West Virginia.

These areas with no or very limited internet access are internet deserts, where you cannot find affordable, high-speed internet. Many of these areas are sparsely populated or rural areas, though some are also urban areas where services like high-speed cable, DSL, and fiber internet do not reach.

According to the World Economic Forum, 6% of Americans do not have access to a high-speed internet connection. In 2019, the FCC estimated 21.3 million Americans don’t have access to internet service at broadband speeds, though research by Microsoft has indicated that number to be as high as 157.3 million.

The northeast and northwest portions of the country had the least internet deserts, according to the survey.