Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021

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Smartphone ownership (85%) and home broadband subscriptions (77%) have increased among American adults since 2019 – from 81% and 73% respectively. Though modest, both increases are statistically significant and come at a time when a majority of Americans say the internet has been important to them personally. And 91% of adults report having at least one of these technologies. A Pew Research Center survey also finds that some Americans have difficulties when trying to go online. Some 30% of adults say they often or sometimes experience problems connecting to the internet at home, including 9% who say such problems happen often. Still, a majority of Americans say these connection troubles occur rarely (41%) or never (21%).

While there has been slight growth in the share who say they subscribe to high-speed internet, about a quarter of the population still does not have a broadband internet connection at home. And broadband non-adopters continue to cite financial constraints as one of the most important reasons why they forgo these services. Among non-broadband users, 45% say a reason why they do not have broadband at home is that the monthly cost of a home broadband subscription is too expensive, while about four-in-ten (37%) say the same about the cost of a computer. Beyond cost barriers, a little fewer than half of non-users cite having other options for internet access or the fact that their smartphone does everything online they need as a reason why they do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. Other major findings in this new survey:

  • Smartphone dependency: Some 15% of U.S. adults are “smartphone-only” internet users – that is, they have a smartphone, but do not have a home broadband connection.
  • Interest in getting broadband: Fully 71% of non-broadband users say they are not interested in having such a connection at home.

Mobile Technology and Home Broadband 2021 Good internet service is still a luxury in the US (Vox)