There’s been a simmering argument since last decade as to whether access to the internet is a human right or at least a utility. But half of the world still needs to get on it, though, so take what you will from that. For the already-connected, there will continue to be a huge need for broadband access to the internet for the time being, though we keep making a big deal about wireless internet and intranet connections.
The Pew Research Center has conducted a survey with a pool of 2,001 respondents on how the United States accesses the internet.
From a comparison of robust datasets from this year and from 2013, we’ll distill some major points:
- On the whole, household broadband connections have come down 3 percent to 67 percent while smartphone-only internet households shot up 5 percent to 13 percent.
- The biggest swings down and up respectively came with the African American demo: broadband’s down 8 percent to 54 percent and cell-only internet’s up 9 percent to 19 percent.
- Impoverished households have the lowest broadband access rates (down 5 percent from 2013 to 41 percent) and the highest cell-only access rates (up 8 percent to 21 percent)
- The total number of adults who have either or both ways to the internet is up 2 percent to 80 percent.
While even a basic cellular subscription can garner better bandwidth and speeds and is easier to maintain than a subscription to, say, Comcast, data caps are way smaller, overages can be rampant and account cancellations happen often. People also find it a harder time to be productive, be it editing resumes or learning heavy-duty applications like Adobe Photoshop.
Cost is the biggest issue, though. 33 percent of those who did not have a broadband connection said subscription fees were too much while 10 percent could not get a computer.
There’s a conflicting surprise that addresses the prevailing moods of the country: while 65 percent of those without broadband say that the lack thereof is a disadvantage in some aspect, 46 percent say they never had broadband and aren’t interested or likely to get it anytime soon.
The complete report is available down below.