Published within a new study conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, approximately 70 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 18 have broadband access within their home. Alternatively, ten percent of the respondents go without broadband access at home in favor of 3G and 4G LTE access on their smartphone and the remaining 20 percent don’t utilize high speed Internet access at their home in any form. These results are an improvement over last year’s survey in which 66 percent of the public reported to have broadband access within their home.
Regarding age, the highest percentage of Americans without broadband access are 50 years and older. Specifically, 70 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 to 64 have broadband and just 43 percent of people over the age of 65 have broadband access. The highest concentration of broadband users are between 18 to 29.
In relation to education, college graduates had the highest percentage of broadband access topping out at nearly 90 percent. On the opposite end of the spectrum, just 37 percent of Americans without a high school diploma have broadband access. Household income showed a similar trend with the highest percentage of broadband users in groups making $50,000 a year or more.
In addition, Americans living in suburban and urban areas were more likely to have broadband access than people living in rural areas of the country. However, lack of availability isn’t as much a contributing factor for rural users as it was several years ago. A 2011 Pew study found that 98 percent of U.S. households are in areas where broadband access is readily available to the community.
Still hanging around at 3 percent for the third year in the row, a small portion of respondents still use dial-up for Internet access. Interestingly, broadband started at a three percent adoption rate approximately thirteen years ago. When asked about the study, Pew Research’s Kathryn Zickuhr said “We’ve consistently found that age, education, and household income are among the strongest factors associated with home broadband adoption. Many dial-up users cite cost and access as the main reasons they don’t have broadband, but for adults who don’t use the internet at all, a lack of interest is often the main issue.”
Regarding different types of broadband access, 33 percent of homes with broadband have set up a router for wireless access, 31 percent connect directly to their cable modem, 18 percent connect to a DSL-phone line and 8 percent utilize a fiber optic connection to get on the Internet. More specifically, the number of people using routers for wireless access has tripled in the past five years, likely due to the increase in mobile devices like laptops and tablets.
According to a 2010 Pew study, the majority of Americans believe broadband access provides a major advantage when conducting a job search, learning new skills, using public services provided by the government and getting information related to their health. However, the same study found that broadband access wasn’t as important for keeping up with local events or learning about national news. It’s likely that respondents were more reliant on television, newspapers and magazines than the Internet to learn about current events.