Some 55% of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to Home Broadband 2008, a May 2008 survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The percentage of Americans with broadband at home has grown from 47% in early 2007 and 42% in early 2005. Among individuals who use the internet at home, 79% have a high-speed connection while 15% use dialup.
The 17% growth rate from 2007 to 2008 represents is comparable to the 12% growth rate recorded in the 2006 to 2007 timeframe. However, several groups exhibited little or no growth in broadband adoption at home from 2007 to 2008:
“The flat growth in home high-speed adoption for low-income Americans suggests that tightening household budgets may be affecting people's choice of connection speed at home,” said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of Research at the Pew Internet & American Life project and author of the report. “Broadband is more costly on a monthly basis than dial-up, and some lower income Americans may be unwilling to take on another expense.”
Nonetheless, several groups exhibited strong growth in home broadband adoption from 2007 to 2008, namely:
While broadband adoption for low-income Americans has been flat, many broadband users show a willingness to pay more for broadband in order to get faster speeds. Some 29% of home broadband users say they subscribe to a more costly premium broadband service in order to have a faster home high-speed experience. A few even have fiber optic connections at home – 2% of broadband users say they have fiber at home.
The Pew Internet study also explores the reasons why many Americans – either dial-up users or non-internet users – do not have high-speed internet connections at home. Among the 10% of Americans (or 15% of home internet users) with dial-up at home:
Overall, 62% of dial-up users say they are not interested in switching from dial-up to broadband.
Americans who are not online – 27% of adults who do not use the internet – are likely to be older (their median age is 61) and have low incomes. When non-internet users are asked why they don't use the internet, here is what they say:
“Economic factors play a large role in why some people don't have broadband, but about one in ten non-broadband users say that service isn't available where they live,” said Horrigan. “Beyond price and availability, some non-broadband users simply don't see the need for having a high-speed connection at home.”
Other key findings from the survey are:
The Pew Internet Project's report on broadband adoption is based on the Project's April-May 2008 survey of 2,251 adults, 1,153 of whom were home broadband users. The Pew Internet Project is an initiative of the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit “fact tank” that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. Pew Internet explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life. The Project is nonpartisan and takes no position on policy issues.