Friday, February 26, 2010

USA - Cost, Crotchetiness Keep Broadband Out of 1/3 of U.S. Homes

[wired] More than a third of American adults don’t have a fast internet connection at home, leaving some 80 million adults and 13 million children at a distinct disadvantage in a wired world, according to an FCC report released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by phone last fall, comes less than a month before the FCC gives Congress the country’s first comprehensive plan to make broadband ubiquitous and affordable. The survey, Broadband Adoption and Use in America (.pdf), was intended to help the agency figure out why broadband adoption is so low and what it can do to bring the wonders of Facebook, Twitter, online education and sophisticated time wasting to millions more.

Not surprisingly, more than a third of broadband laggards, 36 percent, cited the high cost of broadband and technology, even as entry-level computers and laptops have become very affordable. But survey users report they spend an average of $41 a month on broadband — which comes to nearly $500 annually.

Others say they lack the skills to get online (10 percent) or think it’s too dangerous to either their financial security or their morals (also 10 percent).

Nearly 20 percent without broadband say they don’t bother to subscribe, because there are 800 million web sites, but nothin’s on — or if they have dial-up, that there’s nothing worth getting faster.

Cost, Crotchetiness Keep Broadband Out of 1/3 of U.S. Homes

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