The Commerce Department on Thursday said five to 10 percent of Americans lack access to Internet connections fast enough to download basic Web pages and videos.
The finding comes from data used in a searchable map made public on Thursday and is the federal government's first-ever comprehensive accounting of Internet access and speed information. The Commerce Department and Federal Communications Commission also released a report that showed that Internet adoption is increasing -- at 68 percent of households -- but that low-income and minority groups are less likely to have a broadband Internet connection in their homes.
Speed matters, experts say, because consumers with better Internet connections can be more efficient, productive and generally get more out the Web. The data highlights a concern that children of poor households are having to spend more time to download files and search on the Internet. Adults in those households would have more difficulty paying bills and searching for jobs on the Web -- the kinds of activities that are migrating almost entirely online.
"We saw when people moved from the dialup world to broadband, they became very different Internet users," said Lee Rainie, director of research for the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project. "Broadband made the Internet more integral and directly built into people's lives."Read More