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Blog // Connect Ohio

Census Shows Home Broadband Adoption Improving in the U.S., Despite Persistent Gaps

By Chris McGovern

The United States Census Bureau recently released data from its 2015 American Community Survey (ACS) showing that home Internet access and broadband adoption are climbing in the United States, albeit slowly. Overall, the ACS data shows that 77% of Americans have some sort of broadband service at home. That includes 6% of Americans who subscribe only to mobile service at home.

Not all Americans are subscribing at the same rate, and this new data shows that some of the gaps appear to be shrinking at a glacial pace. Fewer than one-half (49%) of Americans living in households with annual incomes below $20,000 have home broadband service, according to this new information. In addition, states with larger rural populations still tend to have lower rates of home broadband adoption.

Gaps also exist in the information that is collected and shared. While broadband adoption and access are important milestones, these numbers do not tell the whole story. Many Americans subscribe to broadband service at home but are unaware of how to use a computer for work. The reasons for not subscribing and the services that can benefit these Americans (such as digital literacy training programs) cannot be identified by simply counting the households that have a broadband connection. Those types of analyses require localized data collection efforts to not only identify how many people subscribe, but also to help get the rest online.

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