Broadband internet declines as wireless access grows

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.

Source: Pew Research Center

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About The Author
Jules Wang
Jules Wang is News Editor for Pocketnow and one of the hosts of the Pocketnow Weekly Podcast. He came onto the team in 2014 as an intern editing and producing videos and the podcast while he was studying journalism at Emerson College. He graduated the year after and entered into his current position at Pocketnow, full-time.