Tuesday, March 02, 2010

U.S. Broadband Adoption - The Digital Divide

93 million with no or slow Internet are 'at a distinct disadvantage.'

One-Third of U.S. Without Broadband, F.C.C. Finds - NYTimes.com
For many Americans, having high-speed access to the Internet at home is as vital as electricity, heat and water. And yet about one-third of the population, 93 million people, have elected not to connect.

A comprehensive survey by the Federal Communications Commission found several barriers to entry, with broadband prices looming largest. The commission will release the findings on Tuesday and employ them as it submits a national broadband plan to Congress next month.

Of the 93 million persons without broadband identified by the study, about 80 million are adults. Small numbers of them access the Internet by dial-up connections, or outside the home at places like offices or libraries, but most never log on anywhere. In a world of digital information, these people are ‘at a distinct disadvantage,’ said John Horrigan, who oversaw the survey for the F.C.C.

Here's a bit on the demographics from the study.

Two Thirds of U.S. Users Have Broadband, Says FCC - ClickZ
Twenty-two percent of Americans do not use the Internet, but among those that do, 65 percent have access to a broadband connection, according to a survey conducted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The Commission surveyed 5,005 U.S. adults in October and November 2009, and found correlation between socio-economic and demographic factors, and whether or not respondents had access to a high-speed connection.

For example, broadband adoption was greater among respondents with a higher level of education, and a higher salary. In addition, white respondents were more likely to have high-speed access than African-American users, while 10 percent more African-American users claim to use broadband than Hispanic users.

Younger users also reported much wider access to broadband connections than older users. For example, 75 percent of 18-29 year olds access the Internet via broadband compared with just 35 percent of users over 65.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number of rural users with high-speed connections was less than average, at 50 percent, while non-rural users were slightly above the average, at 68 percent.

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