American broadband adoption rises but digital divide persists

Approximately seven out of 10 households in
the United States subscribe to broadband service.

Sixty-eight percent of American households
used broadband Internet in 2010, up from 64 percent in 2009. Only 3 percent of
households relied on dial-up access to the Internet in 2010, down from 5
percent in 2009. Another 9 percent of households had people who accessed the
Internet only outside of the home.

Approximately 80 percent of American
households had at least one Internet user, whether inside or outside the home
and regardless of technology type used to access the Internet.

Cable modems and DSL were the leading
broadband technologies for home Internet adoption, with 32 percent and 23
percent of households, respectively, using these services.

Households with lower incomes and less
education, as well as blacks, Hispanics, people with disabilities and rural
residents, were less likely to have Internet service at home.

Eighty-one percent of Asian households and
72 percent of white households had broadband at home, compared with 57 percent
of Hispanic households and 55 percent of black households.

Seventy percent of urban households had
broadband at home, compared with 57 percent of rural households.

Households with school-age children were
more likely to have broadband at home (78 percent) than the national rate.
Older householders, particularly those ages 65 and older (45 percent), were
less likely to have broadband at home.

Less than half (43 percent) of households
with annual incomes below $25,000 had broadband access at home, while 93
percent of households with incomes exceeding $100,000 had broadband.

Average broadband adoption in 2010 varied
by state from about half (52 percent) of all households to 80 percent.

The main reasons cited for not having
Internet access at home were a lack of interest or need (47 percent), the
expense (24 percent), and the lack of an adequate computer (15 percent).

Individuals without broadband service at
home relied on locations such as public libraries (20 percent) or other
people’s houses (12 percent) to go online.

Between 2001 and 2010, broadband Internet
use at home, regardless of technology type, rose from 9 percent to 68 percent
of households.

Between 1997 and 2010, Internet use among
households, regardless of technology type, rose from 19 percent to 71 percent.

More than three quarters (77 percent) of
American households had a computer at home in 2010, up from 62 percent in 2003.

There is a correlation between broadband
adoption and socio-economic factors, such as income and education, but these
differences do not explain the entire broadband adoption gap that exists along
racial, ethnic and geographic lines.

Even after accounting for socio-economic
differences, certain minority and rural households still lag in broadband
adoption, according to a report from the Department of Commerce’s Economics and
Statistics Administration (ESA) and National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA).

“Closing the broadband adoption gap is
a priority because Americans increasingly need 21st century skills to succeed
in today’s economy. Today’s report provides a comprehensive, data-driven
analysis of broadband adoption that will inform efforts to close the gap and
promote America’s competiveness in the global economy,” said Acting Deputy
Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. 

“To get a good job, you often need
access to the Internet and online skills. But nearly one in three American
households do not subscribe to broadband service,” said NTIA Administrator
Lawrence E. Strickling.

“NTIA’s broadband grants program is
helping to address this challenge by expanding public computer centers and
providing Americans with the training needed to participate in the Internet
economy. The lessons learned from these broadband projects and today’s report
will help the larger community working to close the digital divide, and we
encourage researchers to use the survey data for further analysis,”
Lawrence added.

By Team

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