Not Everyone Wants Broadband. Seriously.

A new study (.PDF) released Wednesday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project reveals that not everyone wants broadband. Seriously. According to the study, 55% of adult Americans now have broadband internet connections at home, up from 47% in 2007. Also according to the study, with the increase in broadband adoption, only 10% of Americans have dial-up.

Whoa: that means 35% have no Internet access at all, if we did the math correctly. For those without broadband, the study gave the following reasons for not having broadband:
Non-broadband users cite a number of reasons for not using the service - including availability, price, and lack of interest.
  • 62% of dial-up users say they are not interested in giving up their current connection for broadband.
When asked specifically what it would take them to get them to switch to broadband:
  • 35% of dial-up users say that the price of broadband service would have to fall.
  • 19% of dial-up users said nothing would convince them to get broadband.
  • 14% of dial-up users – and 24% of dial-up users in rural America - say that broadband service would have to become available where they live.
So part of it is availability, but price is the #1 reason. And interestingly, 19% said nothing would convince them to change. My guess is they've never experienced dial-up vs. broadband; once you have it's hard to go back. Or, they just plain aren't interested in the Internet.

It's not age: the growth rate, according to the study, was strong: 26%. Since the overall growth rate among Americans was 17%, they outpaced the rest.

So, as John Horrigan, the study's author says, this suggests that more people have to become clued into just what their missing when they don't have access to the Internet, whether at broadband speed, or at all, as with the 35% without Internet access.
"That suggests that solving the supply problem where there are availability gaps is only going to go so far. It's going to have to be a process of getting people more engaged with information technology and demonstrating to people it's worth it for them to make the investment of time and money."
That's true, but for many price is still an issue, as low-income Americans experienced a drop in broadband, with only 25% having broadband vs. 28% in 2007. After all, dial-up users reported monthly bills of $19.70, while DSL bills averaged $31.50 and cable modem service averaged $37.50.

In late June the Internet for Everyone site was unveiled, noting the poor broadband adoption rate among Americans, and stating that "getting everyone connected to an open Internet should be a national priority." Price, availability, and perhaps some education into the advantages of broadband are all necessary.

Oh, and don't get us started about our broadband speeds vs. other countries.

The study surveyed 2,251 U.S. residents, between April 8 and May 11.
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