The new report from the National Telecommunications And Information Administration (NTIA) on broadband availability in the U.S. is now available. The most dramatic finding is that approximately 40 percent of all persons in the U.S. have no broadband access at home.
- DIGITAL NATION: 21st Century America’s Progress Towards Universal Broadband Internet Access “An NTIA Research Preview” (February 2010). (PDF, 1.3 MB)
The good news is that “broadband Internet connectivity by households has grown dramatically” with 63.5 percent of U.S. households (not persons) having acces to broadband service at home — a 25 percent increase from two years ago.
We have to temper even this good news, however, when we realize that the definition of “broadband” is both vague and slow. The survey only asks respondents to differentiate between “A regular ‘dial-up’ connection” (not broadband) and everything else (“DSL, cable modem, fiber optics, satellite, wireless (such as Wi-Fi), mobile phone or PDA, or some other broadband”). (See: Survey Instrument, October 2009 CPS Internet Use Supplement.)
A separate survey by SpeedMatters.org (2009 Report on Internet Speeds in All 50 States) reports that the average download speed for the nation was 5.1 megabits per second (mbps) and the average upload speed was 1.1 mbps and that the United States ranks 28th in the world in average Internet connection speeds.
The NTIA report also notes that, while “virtually all demographic groups have increased their adoption of broadband services at home over time,” there are still “demographic disparities” of internet broadband access that have persisted over time.
Like previous NTIA reports, this one is based on data collected in the Census Bureau’s in the Current Population Survey. This time the survey used was conducted in October 2009 an had a sample size of approximately 54,000 households and 129,000 citizens. The last report was two years ago, Networked Nation: Broadband In America 2007. (See: NTIA says we are “reaping the rewards” of government’s broadband policy.)
An Associated Press story on the NTIA report (New data: 40 percent in US lack home broadband, By Joelle Tessler, Seattle Post Intelligencer, February 16, 2010) quotes FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski saying that “he wants 100 million U.S. households to have access to ultra high-speed Internet connections, with speeds of 100 megabits per second, by 2020. That would be several times faster than the download speeds many U.S. homes with broadband get now – 3 megabits to 20 megabits per second.”
See also: Survey: 40 percent in U.S. have no broadband, by Lance Whitney, CNet (February 16, 2010).
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