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Home Broadband Adoption Reaches 70 Percent of U.S. Adults
Wednesday, August 28, 2013 5:50 AM

Some 70 percent of American adults ages 18 and older have a high-speed broadband connection at home as of May 2013, according to a nationally representative survey by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The survey also found that 3 percent of American adults go online at home via dial-up connections.

As found in previous research, groups with the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be college graduates, adults under age 50, and adults living in households earning at least $50,000, as well as whites and adults living in urban or suburban areas.

In recent years internet-connected mobile devices such as smartphones have exploded in popularity; smartphones are now owned by more than half of all American adults, and may offer an alternate form of “home” internet access. In fact, this survey found that one in ten Americans owns a smartphone but do not have a high-speed broadband connection at home.

However, it is unclear whether 3G or 4G smartphones qualify as “broadband” speed, or if smartphones can otherwise offer the same utility to users as a dedicated high-speed home internet connection. For these reasons, smartphones are qualitatively distinct enough that we do not include them in our standard definition of what constitutes a “broadband user.”

At the same time, smartphones do offer a potential source of online access to individuals who might otherwise lack the ability to go online at all from within the home, even if that access is somewhat limited in comparison. When smartphone owners are added to home broadband users, the proportion of Americans with some sort of “home” internet access other than dial-up reaches 80 percent.