Internet, broadband use is rising

Feb. 23, 2018
by Mark Ollig

New survey data from our good friends at Pew Internet Research shows 89 percent of American adults are now using the internet.

If we look back to 2000, the total adult internet usage was 52 percent.

Today, for high school and college students, working millennials, industry professionals, and young and senior adults, using the internet to access social media and services is just the usual norm – like brushing our teeth every morning.

Pew statistics showed in 2000, 70 percent of those ages 18 to 29 were using the internet, including 61 percent of adults ages 30 to 49.

Of those ages 65 and older, 14 percent used the internet in 2000.

It’s surprising to see the data for the start of 2018 reveal how the internet usage graph lines are merging for the 18- to 29- and 30- to 49-year-olds, at 98 percent and 97 percent, respectively.

Sometime before the end of this year, I look for those reported using the internet who were 18 to 29 years old in 2000, to be overtaken by the generation which followed them – the current 30- to 49-year-olds.

Not forgetting those tech-savvy senior citizens 65 and above, their internet usage dramatically increased to a very respectable 66 percent in 2018.

The de facto description of what accurately defines internet broadband speeds has been the subject of much debate over the years among those of us in the telecommunications industry and within the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

In the FCC’s Feb. 4, 2015, Broadband Progress Report, they updated their official broadband benchmark speeds to 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads.

High-speed broadband technology delivering faster internet service to users in their homes has seen a dramatic increase since 2000, when only 1 percent of adults surveyed acknowledged having home broadband.

As of Nov. 6, 2016, 73 percent of adults reported having in-home broadband services.

On March 31, 2000, Pew reported 1 percent of both 18- to 29-, and 30- to 49-year-olds using broadband, while those 50 to 64, and 65 and over were at 0 percent.

At the end of 2016, 77 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds, and 81 percent of those 30 to 49 reported using in-home broadband.

Of those ages 50 to 64, 75 percent surveyed reported using in-home broadband, while those age 65 and higher came in at 51 percent.

Feb. 2, 2018, the FCC Broadband Deployment Report shows the FCC retaining 25 Mbps/3Mbps benchmarks for broadband speeds.

The 2018 FCC report disclosed US domestic broadband speed ranks 10th out of 28 countries using fixed terrestrial, non-mobile download speeds, averaging 55.07 Mbps over fiber-optic/copper facilities.

On a brighter note, the FCC reported 88 percent of schools in America are meeting their short-term network connectivity goal of 100 Mbps per 1,000 users.

The FCC report noted 92.3 percent of all Americans had fixed-terrestrial broadband access to fiber, copper, or wireless networking systems.

Surprisingly, 24 million Americans were unable to access high-speed broadband by the end of 2016.

It’s 2018, and the work of bridging the digital divide continues.

The FCC’s broadband reporting included mobile speed measurement data obtained through the Ookla Speedtest Mobile app, which you can freely download to your Android, Amazon, Windows Phone, or Apple iOS smart device at http://www.speedtest.net/mobile.

Follow Pew Research on Twitter at @pewresearch.

Check out my internet website at http://bitscolumn.blogspot.com.

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