Broadband adoption by US households has grown steadily over the past two years, as nearly two thirds of all households reported using broadband services in 2009.
According to a new survey conducted by the US Department of Commerce and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, 64% of US households said they used broadband at home, up from 51% of households in 2007 and just 9% of households in 2001. The report surveyed more than 54,000 households and defined broadband as any DSL, cable modem, fibre optics, satellite, Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connection.
All demographics have made major gains in adopting broadband since 2001, the survey shows. Nearly half of black, Hispanic and Native American people now report using broadband in their homes, compared to 68% of white non-Hispanic households and 77% of Asian households. In 2001, black, Hispanic and Native American people all had home broadband adoption rates of less than 10%.
The largest gaps in broadband adoption were in terms of family income and education level. Just 36% of households making less than $25,000 a year reported having broadband at home, versus 61% of households with incomes between $25,000 and $50,000. Meanwhile, only 29% of households that had less than a high school degree reported using broadband at home, versus 51% of households with a high schools degree alone and 85% of households with college graduates.
In terms of age demographics, Americans aged 65 or older have seen a strong increase of broadband adoption, as roughly 40% of households with people 65 years or older now report using broadband at home. All other age demographics have a broadband adoption rate of at least 68%, the survey shows.
The gap between urban and rural broadband adoption has also narrowed in recent years, according to the survey. Just over half (51%) of households in rural areas now use broadband at home, compared to 66% of households in urban areas. In 2001, 10.5% of urban households reported using broadband at home while only 4% of rural households reported using broadband at home. Among individual states Utah, New Hampshire, Alaska and Massachusetts have the highest rates of broadband adoption at 73%, followed closely by New Jersey and Washington at 72%. Alabama and Mississippi were the only states to report broadband adoption rates of less than 50%, reporting in at 48% and 42% respectively.
More than one third of households (38%) that didn't use broadband at home said they don't subscribe to it because they don't feel they need it. Another 26% of non-broadband users said they found broadband to be too expensive, while another 18% said they didn't have a computer adequate enough to handle broadband connectivity.
As broadband connectivity has continued to spread, the use of dial-up Internet services has continued to decline. Just 5% of US households surveyed in 2009 reported using dial-up Internet services, less than half the 11% of households that reported using dial-up Internet at home in 2007. Among dial-up users, 41% said they didn't subscribe to broadband because it was too expensive while 20% said that broadband wasn't yet available in their area. Twenty seven percent of dial-up users said they weren't interested in subscribing to broadband services.