Just about every U.S. adult that uses the Internet has access to the Internet at home, using fixed network access, mobile access or both, new studies suggest. That suggests that account growth now is dependent largely on new home construction, continued use of the Internet when new households are formed, and a slight shift of dial-up to broadband.
Some 78 percent of U.S. households buy a fixed network broadband access service at home, and broadband now accounts for 94 percent of all Internet access services sold to consumers at home, according to Leichtman Research Group.
In 2004 about 33 percent of U.S. households buying Internet access service were buying broadband rather than dial-up service. That figure grew to 75 percent in 2008 and 92 percent in 2012.
In total, 83 percent of U.S. households buy a fixed network Internet service for use at home, while 55 percent of adults also buy access to the Internet on a smart phone.
The number of U.S. adults using their smart phones to get access to the Internet has grown 44 percent from 2012 levels.
If about 15 percent of U.S. adults choose not to use the Internet, it is likely that most households using the Internet already are buying service, whether fixed, mobile or both, since 83 percent are buying a fixed access service.
Complicating the broadband adoption picture is growing use of mobile Internet access. Some
64 percent of fixed network broadband subscribers also access the Internet on a smart phone, up from 52 percent last year.
In fact, LRG estimates that 19 percent of homes that do not buy at-home fixed network broadband access use smart phones for Internet access, up from 12 percent in 2012.
The study also suggests that “broadband access cord cutting” is nearly non-existent. About one percent of households paid to subscribe to Internet service at home in the past year, do not currently subscribe, and do not plan to subscribe again in the next six months, LRG says.
Nor is availability of fixed network Internet access much of a problem. Less than one percent of all online households say that broadband is not available in their area. In 2008 that percentage was six percent.
In other words, if people do not buy Internet access at home these days, it mostly is because they do not use the Internet and therefore have no need for an access service.
The LRG findings corroborate a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggesting
that about 15 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 and older do not use the Internet.
Of the non-users, about 34 percent reported that the “Internet is just not relevant to them,” meaning they are not interested, do not want to use it, or claim to have no need for it.
Some 32 percent of non-Internet users claim they do not use the Internet because it is not very easy to use. Such non-users say the Internet is difficult or frustrating to use, or they are physically unable to do so.
In other cases, non-users say they are worried about other security-related issues such as spam, spyware, and hackers.
About 19 percent of non-internet users cite the expense of owning a computer or paying for an internet connection.
In about seven percent of cases, non-users said there was a physical lack of availability issue or some other reason they could not get access to the Internet, the Pew Internet and American Life Project says.
Perhaps the moset surprising finding is that 44 percent of U.S. residents ages 65 and older do not use the Internet. In fact, such older people represent 49 percent of non-Internet users overall.
Earlier Pew studies had found in 2012 that Internet use among older users was about 53 percent, so the 2013 findings are consistent.
According to Gallup, just about 17 percent of people 65 or older use the Internet every day.
Studies from the United Kingdom likewise have shown a usage gap, where about 30 percent of people 65 or older report using the Internet. Perhaps 14 percent of U.K. residents have never used the Internet, the The UK’s Office for National Statistics reports.
On the other hand, Internet non-users often are “using” the Internet indirectly. Though they themselves do not go online, self-described non-internet users often do so indirectly.