NTIA: broadband adoption rises to 68%, but expense, low interest remain barriers

A new joint Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) report revealed that broadband Internet adoption rose to 68 percent in 2010, up from 64 percent in 2009.

ESA NTIA broadband adoption report 2011

Click here for details from the ESA/NTIA report.

Despite the 4 percent gain in 2010, cost and lack of interest in lower income and rural areas continue to be barriers to broadband adoption.

The "Exploring the Digital Nation" report illustrated that only 57 percent of rural homes had a broadband connection versus 70 percent of residents that lived in urban areas.

However, the disparity becomes even more glaring when considering lower-income households. Only 43 percent of lower-income residents that reported annual income of $25,000 or lower had a broadband connection, while 93 percent of households with incomes of $100,000 or higher had high-speed service.

"Closing the broadband adoption gap is a priority because Americans increasingly need 21st century skills to succeed in today's economy," said Acting Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank in the report. "Today's report provides a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of broadband adoption that will inform efforts to close the gap and promote America's competiveness in the global economy."

But service availability is only one part of the issue.

There were three other reasons why others did not have a broadband connection: 47 percent of respondents who did not have any Internet access service in their home said they had no interest or need to be connected to the Web; 24 percent said the service was too expensive; and 15 percent said they did not have a computer.

What these results suggest is that the telecom industry and government need to provide more education on the value of a broadband connection.

Larry Strickling, NTIA Administrator, said during a conference call announcing the findings this week that there's no single silver bullet to close the adoption gap.  

"It's pretty obvious that as we craft strategies to deal with the adoption issue, there's not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution," he said.

For more:
- Government Technology has this article
- here's a copy of the report

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