Latest Pew Study Shows 70 Percent of U.S. Has Broadband. But Access Is Still Unequal

I f%*king hate networking.Sometimes, what looks like good news really isn’t. Pew just released survey results today showing that the percentage of Americans with home “high speed broadband” connections has ticked up from 66 to 70 since April 2012. Pew calls this a “small but statistically significant rise.” The report also shows that 32 percent of the people without home “high speed broadband” connections (or another 10 percent of Americans) have a smartphone.

The news of an overall rise in “high-speed broadband” adoption will likely be trumpeted by America’s giant communications companies and policymakers as the bright spot: “We’re not doing so badly!” But before we start celebrating, it’s a good idea to look closely at the results.

For starters, Pew’s results demonstrate that the digital divide is persistent, with close correlations between socioeconomic status and home Internet access. The report is also a reminder that policymakers use the words “high-speed broadband” to include everything other than dialup access, which is far too broad a definition.

Indeed, we’ve set an alarmingly low bar for ourselves: America should be dominating the information-centric global economy, but we won’t unless we raise our standards.

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One Reply to “Latest Pew Study Shows 70 Percent of U.S. Has Broadband. But Access Is Still Unequal”

  1. That’s the drum I’ve been beating over at LISTen…the digital divide is less of a quantitative issue these days and more of a qualitative issue.

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