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Broadband Adoption Gaps Persist

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 11-09-2010 Print
An NTIA report finds that despite a rise in broadband Internet adoption in the U.S., socioeconomic hurdles remain.

Telecommuting, the "borderless workplace," and 24/7 access are taken for granted in some enterprises. However, a new report spotlights a gap in the adoption of broadband at home that is worth noting as IT leaders build their enterprise technology roadmaps.

Socioeconomic factors such as income and education levels are strongly associated with broadband Internet use. However, even after accounting for socioeconomic differences, significant gaps persist along racial, ethnic and geographic lines, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economics and Statistics Administration and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

The report analyzes data collected through an Internet Usage Survey of 54,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau in October 2009. Earlier this year, the NTIA released initial findings from the survey, showing that while virtually all demographic groups have experienced rising broadband Internet adoption at home. Between 2001 and 2009, broadband Internet use among households rose sevenfold, from 9 percent to 64 percent of American households.

The latest findings, released Nov. 8, reveal that seven out of 10 American households used the Internet in 2009. The majority of these households use broadband to access the Internet at home. Almost one fourth of all households, however, do not have an Internet user.

While broadband Internet adoption is higher among white households than among black and Hispanic households, the report notes that socioeconomic differences do not entirely explain the gap associated with race and ethnicity. A similar pattern holds for urban and rural locations: Urban residents are more likely than their rural counterparts to adopt broadband Internet, even after accounting for socioeconomic differences.

Lack of need or interest, lack of affordability, lack of an adequate computer, and lack of availability are all stated as main reasons for not having home broadband Internet access.

For more, read the eWeek article Broadband Adoption Rising But Gap Persists: Report.


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