Broadband Refusers Blame High Prices, Disinterest

Dennis Faas's picture

A surprising study suggests broadband usage may be about as widespread as it's going to get in the United States. It seems comparatively few dial-up users are stuck that way through a lack of availability. Instead, many of them either think broadband is too expensive, or flat-out don't want it.

The study has been carried out every year for the past decade or so by the Pew Charitable Trusts, an independent think-tank. While broadband use is growing year-on-year, the figures are virtually unchanged since last December, suggesting the market has hit saturation point. (Source

The results seem somewhat inconsistent between questions: for example, the study lists 55% of Americans as using broadband and 10% on dial-up, but later says 27% don't use the Internet. That leaves 8% unaccounted for.

Only 14% of dial-up users said they would get broadband but it wasn't available in their area (logically enough, that rises to 24% in rural areas). Just over one-third said costs were too high. That may not be a factor too much longer as, according to the average costs listed by people taking part of the survey, broadband fees are dropping while dial-up is getting more expensive.

There's good news for the WiFi industry: around a third of Internet users say they've used wireless Internet somewhere other than their home or office.

Despite the supposedly 'open' nature of the Internet, broadband use certainly doesn't seem socially progressive. Across the various demographic categories, levels of broadband use are notably higher among men, 18-30s, whites, college graduates, higher earners, and city dwellers. (Source:

Aside from making it cheaper compared with dial-up (which appears underway), it seems the broadband industry doesn't have many options left to boost take-up. There's still some work to be done to extend access to rural areas, but other than that it seems many people simply aren't interested in getting broadband -- or even Internet access in any form.

Rate this article: 
No votes yet