Overall U.S. Broadband Adoption Rate Slows, Although African-American Use Increases


About 66 percent of U.S. adults currently have a high-speed Internet connection, which is barely higher than last year at this time, when 63 percent had broadband access, according to the Pew Research Center report.

The only real growth in broadband access came from African American users. Pew said about 56 percent of African Americans have broadband access this year, compared to 46 percent last year. About 67 percent of American Caucasians have broadband access, up only two points from the 65 percent who had it last year.

While not specifically citing reasons for the slow growth, the Pew report included data showing a lack of compelling reasons for Internet use among potential users.

For instance, Pew reported that 21 percent of U.S. adults are not Internet users. "Many non-users think online content is not relevant to their lives and they are not confident they could use computers and navigate the web on their own," Pew wrote.

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One-third of non users could connect to the Internet through other family members or have had Internet access in the past.

Of the rest, about half feel Internet content is irrelevant, 90 percent have no plan to go on-line, 60 per cent would need assistance to go on-line, and only 20 percent know enough about the technology to start using the Internet on their own.

Americans in general appear to not consider the lack of broadband access a major disadvantage, Pew wrote.

For instance, in terms of learning about job opportunities or career skills, only 43 percent of Americans called lack of broadband a major disadvantage. For health information, the number was 34 percent. It was 31 percent for getting information on enriching their lives, 29 percent for using government services, 23 percent for getting news and information, and 19 percent for keeping up with their local community.