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Pew Report: U.S. Broadband Adoption Slows, but Blacks Gain Ground

The Pew Internet & American Life Project released its Home Broadband 2010 Report Wednesday, revealing a dramatic slowing of broadband adoption by Americans this year, but showing notable growth in use by blacks.

Among the findings were statistics on home broadband usage and figures on the shrinking gap of adoption between black and white Americans. The study found that two-thirds of Americans use a high-speed connection at home and of those, 67 percent are white and 56 percent are black. This 11-point gap is down from 19 points just last year.

The other findings included:

  • Of the two-thirds of Americans subscribing to broadband, “One-third of broadband users subscribe to a premium service, and the average broadband subscriber pays $41.18 per month for service.” This figure is up from the $39 average from spring 2009.

  • Of those without broadband subscriptions, “Roughly half (48%) of non-internet users cite issues of relevance when asked why they do not go online. One in five (21%) point to issues related to price while 18% cite usability issues and 6% point to access or availability as the main reason they do not go online.”

  • Asked about the advantages and disadvantages of connecting with broadband, the study found that “Some 43% of Americans feel that individuals who do not have broadband at home are at a major disadvantage when it comes to finding out about job opportunities or learning career skills…”

The report also found:

  • “A fifth of American adults (21%) do not use the internet.”

  • “By a 53%-41% margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of
    affordable broadband should be a major government priority.”

Here’s a breakdown of how Americans view federal efforts to expand access to high-speed Internet:

The results of the Pew report are based on data from phone interviews conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International among a sample of 2,252 adults ages 18 and older. The interviews, however, were conducted only in English. The report’s “sample disposition” cited a “language barrier” for 519 of the calls made.

The report comes weeks after President Obama announced a plan to allocate more than $1 billion for installing broadband Internet across the country. “The money is part of $7.2 billion in the stimulus that was set aside to expand broadband Internet access,” McClatchy Newspapers recently reported.

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