Broadband’s Narrow Base

The U.S. Commerce Department reports that 40% of the U.S. population lacks home broadband Internet access, based on a fall 2009 Census Bureau survey of 54,000 households.  Broadband penetration is smallest in rural areas, where 54% of households subscribe to broadband compared to 66% in urban areas.  38% of those without broadband access say they don’t need or want it, and 26% reject it as too expensive.  (It is expensive–I pay much more in rural Maine for a DSL connection that is slower than my FIOS connection at home.)

What’s the deal with that 38%?  Why don’t they need or want broadband?  Are they happy with dial-up?  Is the Internet too scary?  What?

4 thoughts on “Broadband’s Narrow Base”

  1. One thing is for sure: internet traffic and bandwidth usage isn't going to peak anytime soon as more and more of that 38% realizes the potential exploits of having a broadband connection. There is always a certain percentage of the population that resists more efficient and effective developments [granted, 38% is a little higher than I would've thought.] However, I think we can agree that this number will decrease given time as people come around, die off, or become vastly outnumbered by new entrants to the internet so lets pay no heed it. And yes, I have made two very basic assumptions here: a significant portion of the 38% are nearing their end and new entrants to the internet start off as broadband users.

    What we should do is concentrate efforts on the 26% who find broadband connections too expensive. Here is an interesting piece I came across-http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/15/opinion/l… Paving and maintaining the information highway isn't cheap and if they can find a way to make it cheap, telecom companies might be able to pass the savings along to consumers. Not much else can be done about the cost since relative to dial-up, there is a much higher perceived value for broadband.

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