August 26, 2013
Pew Says 70% Of Americans Have Broadband Access
Enid Burns for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
While the government continues to work on broadband accessibility with a goal to reach every US citizen, a new report found that 70 percent of Americans over the age of 18 already have a high-speed connection in the home. The Pew Internet & American Life Project released its Home Broadband 2013 report, detailing broadband availability to Americans across the country.
The percentage of the population with broadband access at home has risen steadily since mid-2000, when it accounted for only 3 percent of the US adult population. During that time, dial-up access has declined from 34 percent in June 2000 to 3 percent in May 2013, according to Pew.
The survey found that 70 percent of Americans have broadband access in their home; 10 percent of Americans have a smartphone but no broadband; and 20 percent of the adult US population goes without a broadband connection at home or on a smartphone.
The overlap between broadband and smartphones is growing. The study found that 46 percent of Americans have both home broadband and a smartphone and 24 percent have broadband at home but do not have a smartphone.
"Including smartphones in the definition of home broadband access helps narrow the differences between some demographic groups, but widens the gap between others," the report said. "Differences between racial and ethnic groups are an example of smartphones narrowing the 'broadband gap': While blacks and Latinos are less likely to have access to home broadband than whites, their use of smartphones nearly eliminates that difference."
The divide still exists among age groups, however. "Including smartphones in our broadband definition actually exacerbates differences in broadband adoption rates between young and old. Looking just at our standard definition of home broadband adoption, we find that 80 percent of young adults ages 18 to 29 have a high-speed broadband at home, compared with 43 percent of seniors ages 65 and older - a gap of 37 percentage points," the report read.
Smartphone statistics actually broaden the gap to 49 percentage points. Pew states that young adults are more likely than senior citizens to own smartphones. When smartphone ownership is added to broadband use, the proportion of young adults who fall into the "have broadband" category increases from 80 percent to 95 percent. However, there is no similar lift for seniors when smartphones are added to the definition. The percentages are more or less evenly divided: 43 percent of seniors have no broadband versus 46 percent of seniors who have broadband or a smartphone.
"We've consistently found that age, education, and household income are among the strongest factors associated with home broadband adoption, said Kathryn Zickuhr, research associate at Pew Research Center's Internet Project, in a statement from the organization. "Many dial-up users cite cost and access as the main reasons they don't have broadband, but for adults who don't use the internet at all, a lack of interest is often the main issue."
Another recent report found that 98 percent of American homes have access to some form of high-speed broadband, however, as many as 20 percent of American adults don't use the Internet at all. That equates to tens of millions of people.