While internet connectivity remains on the rise in the United States, it’s a slow climb to complete adoption. A recent report by Pew Research indicates that 70 percent of Americans have in-home broadband internet — a modest increase in last year that still shows one in five households still lack high-speed internet.
That 70 percent figure is a statistically significant increase from Pew’s research in 2012, which showed a 66 percent broadband adoption rate. The steady (if slow) rise in broadband is coupled with a phasing out of traditional dial-up connections, which only 3 percent of those Pew surveyed still have in their homes.
According to Pew, the demographics that lead to broadband adoption are age, education, and income. Barely a third of adults that have never graduated from high school have access to broadband internet, versus nine out of 10 college graduates. Similarly, younger adults are more likely to have broadband than adults over 50, and those who make more than $50,000 per year have increased adoption. Interestingly, more than half of adults who lived in rural areas have broadband — just 10 percent below the percentage of adults in urban and suburban households that take broadband.
The U.S. has had a difficult run with broadband, and it continues to rank in the lower half of the 10 most connected countries, according to Akamai. Part of the issue does come down to resources — that the broadband infrastructure of the U.S. is still too tenuous and expensive to be a universal feature in all American homes. But Pew’s research does indicate there’s a cultural force at work, that lack of interest or education about the power of broadband could be a factor in users choosing to eschew faster internet speeds.
Whatever the case, it’s clear that if the U.S. wants to have better adoption, some work needs to be done before we can catch up to South Korea.