Mobile grows, but the Internet gap persists

This month the U.S. Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a comprehensive report on mobile Internet use. The report, Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet, is based on a 2012 Census Bureau survey of more than 53,000 households. Generally, it “ found that Americans were increasingly using their mobile devices to engage in applications that they might have previously done on a desktop or laptop computer or not at all.”

But the report also took the time to look at overall Internet use – not just the growing mobile field. And, the results are not encouraging. While home Internet use has crept up from 69 percent to 72 percent many are still left out of the digital age.

The NTIA said:

“The report found that 28 percent of households still do not use broadband at home. Those households not online at home cited a lack of interest or need (48 percent) as the main reason why, followed by 29 percent who said they could not afford home Internet service.

“Despite the progress in home broadband adoption, some Americans still rely on public libraries to access the Internet. The report found that 20 percent of those in unemployed households said someone in their household used the Internet at the library, compared with 11 percent of households overall.”

Speed Matters encourages strengthening public and private initiatives which aid in Internet adoption to ensure that we do not have a permanent class of digitally excluded Americans.

Exploring the Digital Nation: Embracing the Mobile Internet (NTIA Report, Oct. 2014)

Digital Nation Report Shows Rapid Adoption of Mobile Internet Use (NTIA news release, Oct. 16, 2014)