Broad Reach for Broadband?


By a 53 percent to 41 percent margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government issue. After an extended period of sustained growth, there was little change this year in the adoption of broadband service across the United States. A new survey from Pew Internet has these results and more:

Americans have decidedly mixed views about the problems non-broadband users suffer due to their lack of a high-speed connection. There is no major issue on which a majority of Americans think that lack of broadband access is a major disadvantage.

  • Job opportunities and career skills: 43% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about job opportunities or gaining new career skills. Some 23% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 28% think it is “not a disadvantage.” 
  • Health information: 34% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to getting health information. Some 28% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 35% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Learning new things to improve and enrich life: 31% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to learning new things that might enrich or improve their lives. Some 31% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 32% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Government services: 29% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to using government services. Some 27% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 37% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Keeping up with news and information: 23% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to keeping up with news and information. Some 27% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 47% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Keeping up with what is happening in their communities: 19% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about their local community. Some 32% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 45% think it is “not a disadvantage.”

A fifth of American adults (21%) do not use the internet. 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.

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