Broadband Adoption Slows, Says Pew Research

  • Broadband Penetration
WASHINGTON, DC –The adoption of broadband Internet access slowed dramatically over the last year, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Two-thirds of American adults (66 percent) now have a broadband Internet connection at home, up slightly from 63 percent a year earlier.

Most demographic groups experienced flat-to-modest broadband adoption growth over the last year. The notable exception to this trend was among African-Americans, who experienced 22 percent year-over-year growth in broadband adoption. In 2009, 65 percent of whites and 46 percent of African-Americans were broadband users (a 19-point gap). In 2010, 67 percent of whites and 56 percent of African-Americans are broadband users, narrowing the gap to 11 percentage points.

By a 53-41 margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Non-Internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections.

In a national phone survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project,

  • 26 percent of Americans said that expansion of affordable broadband access should not be attempted by government

  • 27 percent said it was “not too important” a priority

  • 30 percent said it was an important priority

  • 11 percent said it should be a top priority.


  • Users under age 30 and African-Americans are the most likely to favor expanded government efforts, while those who are not currently online are especially resistant to government involvement in broadband promotion. Fully 45 percent of nonusers say government should not attempt to make affordable broadband available to everyone, while just 5 percent of those who don’t use the Internet say broadband access should be a top federal government priority.

    In addition to their skepticism towards government efforts to promote widespread broadband adoption, the 21 percent of American adults who do not use the Internet are not tied in any obvious way to online life and express little interest in going online.

  • They do not find online content relevant to their lives. Half (48 percent) of nonusers cite issues relating to the relevance of online content as the main reason they do not go online.
  • They are largely not interested in going online. Just one in 10 nonusers say they would like to start using the Internet in the future.
  • They are not comfortable using computers or the internet on their own. Six in 10 nonusers would need assistance getting online. Just one in five know enough about computers and technology to start using the Internet on their own.


  • “As broadband technologies have been adopted in the majority of American homes, a debate has arisen about the role of government in stepping in to ensure availability to high-speed internet access for all Americans,” says senior research specialist Aaron Smith, author of the new report. “The majority think not, and the surprise is that nonusers are the least inclined to think government has a role in the spread of broadband. It could be that the recession is causing Americans to prioritize other issues, or it could be general anti-government wariness. It could also stem from the fact that not many nonusers are anxious to see government promoting technologies that they view as difficult to use and offering uncertain benefits.”

    The new Pew Internet Project survey found that Americans have mixed views about the problems non-broadband users face due to their lack of a high-speed Internet connection. There is no major issue on which a majority of Americans think that lack of broadband access is a major disadvantage, although African-Americans, Latinos and young adults are more keenly attuned than average to the impact of a lack of broadband access.

  • Job opportunities and career skills: Forty-three percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about job opportunities or gaining new career skills. Some 23 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 28 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Health information: Thirty-four percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to getting health information. Some 28 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 35 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”

  • Learning new things to improve and enrich life: Thirty-one percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to learning new things that might enrich or improve their lives. Some 31 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 32 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”

  • Government services: Twenty-nine percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to using government services. Some 27 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 37 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”

  • Keeping up with news and information: Twenty-three percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to keeping up with news and information. Some 27 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 47 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”

  • Keeping up with what is happening in their communities: Nineteen percent of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about their local community. Some 32 percent think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage,” and 45 percent think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Comments

    Read what others have to say, and share your own thoughts with the community.

    2000 characters remaining
    Advertisement

    © 2020 Broadband Properties, LLC

    Privacy Policy

    Web Design and Web Development by Buildable