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Survey: Nearly half of Americans have home broadband access

Gaps based on income and race are narrowing, survey finds

By , Network World
July 05, 2007 12:51 PM ET

Network World - Nearly half of all Americans have broadband Internet connections in their homes, largely because of increasing use among minorities and the poor, according to an annual survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The number of home broadband users nationwide now equals the total number of Americans with any type of Internet connection in 2000, the first year the survey was conducted. Four out of 10 African-American adults have broadband access at home, compared to 15% two years ago. Nearly one-third of rural Americans have home broadband connections, compared to about one-half of Americans living in urban areas and the suburbs.

“Income and race are becoming less important differentiators in U.S. broadband adoption,” states the Pew Internet Project, a nonprofit research center that examines the social impact of the Internet.

There still is work to be done to address all the barriers that prevent many poor people and minorities from obtaining high-speed Internet access, says the Internet Innovation Alliance, a coalition of nonprofits and businesses devoted to universal broadband access.

“These findings by the Pew Internet Project demonstrate that the adoption of broadband Internet connections continues to rise in the U.S., but there still remain gaps in this adoption curve that must be addressed,” Larry Irving, co-chairman of the alliance, says in a press release issued by the Pew Internet Project. “While tremendous progress has been made in recent years, broadband use in rural areas and among minority groups continues to lag behind the rest of the country, limiting these groups’ ability to take full advantage of the many benefits afforded by the Internet.”

Research from the Brookings Institution found that broadband usage is closely linked to U.S. employment growth, the Pew Internet Project notes.

The Internet Innovation Alliance has urged government leaders to adopt policies and tax rates that encourage “investment and innovation in broadband technologies and their deployment.”

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