March 23, 2009

Mapping Broadband and Understanding the Internet

This presentation discusses what Pew Internet data contributes to the discussion of how best to carry out the “Broadband Data Improvement Act.” A provision in the bill requires that the U.S. government develop a publicly available map of broadband infrastructure nationwide. For this session, I cover a few points about consumers’ knowledge gaps with respect to broadband — gaps which broadband mapping could help fill.

Consumers face knowledge gaps with respect to:

  • Availability — 14% of non-broadband users say it’s not available in our surveys, but such self-reporting can be subject to error.
  • Speed — 83% of broadband users can’t say what their home connection speed is, even though 1/3 pay extra for more speed.
  • Providers — 22% of broadband subscribers (in 2004) said they didn’t know how many providers were available in their area.