April 5, 2021 – A new survey released late last month suggests Californians are adopting more devices as smartphone-only connections in the state continue to drop.
The California Emerging Technology Fund, a non-profit foundation focused on digital equity in the state, and the University of Southern California partnered on March 22 to determine internet access in California based on demographics and location.
Eighty-five percent of Californians are connected through a desktop, laptop, or tablet, with 5.7 percent connected only via a smartphone for a total of about 91 percent of households connected overall in the state — up from 55 percent in 2008. Smartphone-only users dropped from 8.5 percent in 2014.
In an emailed statement to Broadband Breakfast, the CETF said, “An examination of access to broadband shows California passing an adoption milestone, though many low-income households remain offline at a critical time of the pandemic.”
The study is based on a survey of California adults aged 18 and up across 1,650 households. It was conducted via telephone survey using random-digit dialing of cellphones (94 percent) and landlines (6 percent) in California, and administered in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Mandarin.
Nearly 1 in 4 Hispanics are unconnected or under connected, the survey found, which put them significantly behind other racial and ethnic groups studied. Caucasians were found to be three times more connected than Spanish-speaking Hispanics.
Racial differences in the digital divide have continued to cause concern especially as some minority communities tend to suffer more from broadband affordability than Caucasian communities. Of the reasons given for lack of connectivity, the majority said internet was too expensive, at 68 percent, followed by privacy and security concerns.