FCC: Four Types of Americans Who Don't Have Internet

 @ibtimes
on February 23 2010 12:40 PM

The Federal Communications Commission announced plans to launch its National Broadband Plan next month, which will provide high-speed Internet connections to over 93 million Americans who currently don't use Internet.

The FCC said it will present its recommendations, based on its survey, to Congress on March 17.

In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.

To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy.

In a survey conducted by the FCC in November last year, it found that only 78 percent of U.S. adults are Internet users and 65 percent are broadband adopters. Incredibly, six percent of Americans still use dial-up access and four percent have no broadband at home at all.

The report showed the main reasons why some users are resistant to set up the Internet is because they lack the knowledge or financially unable. This can then be further divided into four profiles of those who are yet to adopt broadband, and in some cases, internet.

Digitally Distant: This represents 10 percent of the general population. This group has the lowest probability of broadband adoption in the future, according to the findings. They see little to no point in being online, while their computer skills and wariness of online security leads to an attitude of indifference. This group also has the highest median age, 63, and the largest number of retirees (45 percent).

Digital Near Converts: This represents 10 percent of the general population. Most own, and are comfortable operating, a computer and value the Internet as a learning tool. Around 42 percent have already used broadband before, but financial difficulties are the main reason why they don't have broadband access at home. This group consists of young adults with high levels of academic achievement. Their average income it between $40,000 - $75,000.

Digital Hopefuls: This represents 8 percent of the general population. This group is the least well-off of all four groups but contains the most members with positive views on being online. Given the resources, and cheap access, most would jump at the chance of broadband. However, 22 percent can't afford a computer and 15 percent can't afford the monthly access fee. Almost half have not graduated from high school and 44 percent live in households with annual incomes of $20,000 or less.

Digitally Uncomfortable: This represents 7 percent of the general population. The majority of this group owns a computer, but don't have the skills and knowledge to use them. More than financial help, this group, which has a median age of 55, requires educating in the realms of digital literacy and relevant content.

Broadband
Broadband adoption by American adults by Socio-economic demographic factors. (Credit: FCC)

The study showed that Broadband subscribers now pay an average of $40.68 per month. Meanwhile, stand-alone broadband subscribers pay an average of $46.25 per month, and those that get broadband bundled in with another service, such as phone or cable television, pay $37.70 per month.

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