July 3, 2007

Broadband Adoption in 2007

Washington, DC – Nearly half (47%) of all adult Americans now have a high-speed internet connection at home, according to a February 2007 survey conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The percentage of Americans with broadband at home has grown from 42% in early 2006 and 30% in early 2005. Among individuals who use the internet at home, 70% have a high-speed connection while 23% use dialup. The 12% growth rate from 2006 to 2007 represents trails the 40% increase in the 2005 to 2006 timeframe, when many people in the middle-income and older age groups acquired home broadband connections. Those groups continued to show increases in home broadband adoption into early 2007, but at lower rates than in the past:

  • Among adults who live in households whose annual incomes fall between $30,000 and $50,000 annually, home broadband adoption stood at 46% in early 2007, up 3 percentage points since 2006.
  • Among senior citizens (age 65 and older), home broadband adoption stood at 15% in early 2007, up 2 percentage points since 2006.
  • Among people between the ages of 50 and 64, 40% have home high-speed connections, up 2 percentage points since 2006.

“The moderate growth in home high-speed adoption from 2006 to 2007 is partly a reflection of strong prior-year growth; the low-hanging fruit was picked in 2005,” said John B. Horrigan, Associate Director of Research at the Pew Internet & American Life project and author of the report. “Luring remaining hard-to-get adults to home broadband is likely to involve showing them the relevance of online content.”
Several groups exhibited strong growth in home broadband adoption from 2006 to 2007, namely:

  • African Americans: 40% of now have broadband at home, up by 8 percentage points from 2006.
  • Rural Americans: 31% of those living in rural areas have broadband at home, up 6 percentage points from 2006.
  • Low income households, that is, adults who report living in households with annual household incomes under $30,000 annually: 30% of those in this group report having broadband at home, up by 9 percentage points the prior year and matching the end-of-2005 national average.

“Broadband adoption in rural America faces two challenges – network availability and demographics,” said Aaron Smith, research specialist at the Pew Internet Project and co-author of the report. “Rural Americans tend to be older, less avid online users, and thus less interested in fast home connections. And some parts rural America also simply don’t have the infrastructure for providing broadband at home.”
The Pew Internet Project’s report on broadband adoption is based on the Project’s February-March survey of 2,200 adults, 996 of whom were home broadband users. The Pew Internet Project is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative of the Pew Research Center that produces reports exploring the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care, and civic/political life. Support for the non-profit Pew Internet Project is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Contact: John B. Horrigan or Aaron Smith, 202-419-4500