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Why we aren’t online

Pew Internet & American Life has a fascinating report on why Americans are not adopting broadband. Here’s some highlights Pew is circulating:

  • Broadband adoption has slowed dramatically in the overall population, but growth among African-Americans was especially high last year.

  • By a 53%-41% margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Contrary to what some might suspect, non-internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections.

  • In addition to their skepticism towards government efforts to promote widespread broadband adoption, the 21% of American adults who do not use the internet are not tied in any obvious way to online life and express little interest in going online.

  • They do not find online content relevant to their lives. Half (48%) of non-users cite issues relating to the relevance of online content as the main reason they do not go online.

  • They are largely not interested in going online. Just one in ten non-users say would like to start using the internet in the future.

  • They are not comfortable using computers or the internet on their own. Six in ten non-users would need assistance getting online. Just one in five know enough about computers and technology to start using the internet on their own.

14 Responses to “Why we aren’t online”

  1. […] [Via David Weinberger] […]

  2. I don’t seem to be able to find the age distribution of that 21% of non-users in the survey… Maybe I missed it but that seems quite an omission; if it is largely in the 65+ age group then one might question how relevant it is to know that they will never go online in their life.

    I mean, if I talked to my grandparents 10 years ago they weren’t interested in having a computer or internet at all (although now they use it quite frequently, actually :)). But for people my age group (18-29) it seems virtually impossible to imagine a life without internet.

    Also distribution by region (rural, urban) would be interesting, though perhaps obvious.

  3. “They do not find online content relevant to their lives. Half (48%) of non-users cite issues relating to the relevance of online content as the main reason they do not go online.”

    How can they know what content is offered online if the don’t go online?

  4. I learned from the subject article that my “high speed” internet service didn’t fit the definition of broadband.

  5. […] Joho the Blog » Why we aren't online […]

  6. I haven’t read the Pew analysis yet but your summary underscores a sort of missionary arrogance among broadband proponents — an assumption that “our modern way of life is enlightened and superior.” Maybe it’s not.

  7. […] Joho the Blog » Why we aren't online […]

  8. […] Joho the Blog » Why we aren't online […]

  9. […] Joho the Blog » Why we aren't online […]

  10. Blessed are the sleepy ones: for they shall soon drop off.

  11. […] This Pew report supports my assertion that the digital divide is not economic – its about apathy, fear and apprehension. […]

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