Though the number of people with high-speed connections has been steadily rising over the past decade, there remains a surprising number of people who go without one: 20% of Americans have neither a broadband connection or a smartphone, according to Pew’s data. While some people might not see the value in high-speed internet access and others may not be able to afford it, there are still 19 million Americans who flat-out lack the option for a high-speed connection, according to the Federal Communication Commission’s latest Broadband Progress Report.
“I think one of the valuable aspects of this work is reminding people that there’s a pretty sizable chunk of the population that, when they’re at home, there’s not necessarily a device they can bring up and answer the question they have at the moment or get the information that they need or accomplish the task they need to accomplish — that it’s much more difficult for those folks,” Aaron Smith, Senior Researcher at Pew Internet Project, told TIME.
Smith was also intrigued by a counter-intuitive effect smartphones are having on the digital age gap. If we don’t include smartphones in the definition of “broadband,” then 80% of adults ages 18-29 have a broadband connection at home, while the same is true of only 43% of those above the age of 65 — a gap of 37%. However, if smartphones are included in the definition of “broadband,” the difference in broadband adoption rates between young and old users widens dramatically to 49%.Read More