WASHINGTON, February 16, 2010 - New government data show demographic groups across the nation have experienced rising broadband internet access adoption at home but disparities persist among some groups.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration found that broadband internet access at home continues to grow with 64 percent of households having broadband access compared to 51 percent in October 2007.
However, NTIA chief Larry Strickling expressed concern that certain groups are still not getting the connections they need.
“While it is encouraging that Americans across virtually all demographic groups and geographic areas are using broadband at higher rates than ever before, a significant portion of the population is still not online,” he said, adding that funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act is designed to help ameliorate those problems.
Notable disparities between demographic groups show that people with low incomes, seniors, minorities, less-educated, non-family households, and the unemployed lag behind other groups in home broadband use.
Derek Rose of the Free Press said the data indicate that many people think broadband is too expensive or they don't see any value in the service.
"It is clear that promoting more effective competition and ensuring access to diverse online content will be essential to reaching the goal of universal broadband adoption,” he said.
While the digital divide between urban and rural areas has lessened since 2007, according to the NTIA, it remains significant.
In 2009, 66 percent of urban households and only 54 percent of rural households accessed broadband Internet service, compared to 54 percent of urban households and 39 percent of rural households in 2007.
Interestingly, 30 percent of all consumers do not use the Internet in any location, according to the NTIA.