Broadband penetration has increased from 20 percent to 66 percent in the last five years. But as penetration increases, the digital divide gets put into starker relief.
New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) finds that more than two-thirds of U.S. households now subscribe to a broadband high-speed Internet service, an increase driven by the most affluent consumers.
LRG data shows that 89 percent of all households with annual incomes over $75,000 subscribe to a broadband service – compared with 70 percent of households with incomes of $30,000-$75,000, and 37 percent of households with incomes under $30,000.
Access is not merely an issue of being able to afford the service – it’s also about being able to afford computers. Nearly two-fifths (38 percent) of households with annual incomes under $30,000 do not have a computer at home, and only half of households in this income group subscribe to any type of Internet service at home.
The data bolsters the observation made by multiple interests providing input on national broadband policy: A large factor in the national broadband penetration equation is access and affordability.
“As the future of broadband in the U.S. is being addressed, it is clear that with over three-quarters of all households with a computer choosing to subscribe to a high-speed Internet service – the evolution of broadband in the U.S. has been highly successful,” said Bruce Leichtman, LRG’s president and principal analyst. “The challenges of bringing broadband to all economic segments of the population go well beyond broadband itself, requiring recognition of the fact that lower-income households still remain less likely than others to be online and to own computers.”
Other key findings include:
- 67 percent of broadband subscribers are very satisfied with their service – while just 4 percent are not satisfied.
- 29 percent of broadband subscribers are very interested in receiving faster Internet access at home – while 37 percent are not interested.
- Overall, 3 percent of Internet subscribers say that broadband is not available in their area.