Pew: 7 of 10 Adults Have High-Speed Connection - Broadcasting & Cable

Pew: 7 of 10 Adults Have High-Speed Connection

Wireless is helping close digital divide, says study, but unclear whether it qualifies as broadband speed
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Approximately 70% of U.S. adults (18-plus) have a high-speed broadband connection at home, 80% if wireless broadband over Smart phones is included. That leaves 20% with neither. Those figures are as of May 2013, according to the latest survey results from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project.

As per previous surveys, the highest rates of home broadband adoption continue to be among urban whites, college graduates, those under 50, and those making $50,000 or more.

The study also found that more than half of all Americans (56%) now have smart phones that "may" offer an alternative to wired Internet access--the survey also found that one in 10 respondents who had a smart phone had no home high-speed broadband connection.

When those users are factored in, the percentage of adult Americans with some kind of internet access from home -- other than low-speed dial-up -- jumps to 80%.

The survey suggests that wireless is helping bridge the digital divide between whites and minorities. "[W]hile blacks and Latinos are less likely to have access to home broadband than whites, factoring in their use of smartphones nearly eliminates that broadband 'gap,'" it says.

But Pew said the jury is still out on whether wireless -- whose speeds do not yet match those of wired -- was a substitute. "[I]t 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," the study authors said, explaining why they did not count smart phone users in its definition of a broadband user."

The telephone study was conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International from  April 17-May 19, 2013, among 2,252 adults, age 18-plus. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points for the full study and 2.3 points for Internet users.

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