FCC: 93 Million Americans Without High-Speed Internet Access

One-third of the country (or 93 million Americans) don’t have high-speed Internet access at home, according to a new consumer survey released Tuesday (Feb. 23) by the Federal Communications Commission. The report, Broadband Adoption and Use in America, comes about a month before the Commission is due to release its national broadband plan to speed up broadband access to Americans.

Broadband adoption by African Americans, Hispanics, lower-income households, the disabled and senior citizens, trail the national average. About 59 percent of African Americans have broadband at home, 49 percent of Hispanics, 42 percent of the disabled and 35 percent of senior citizens.

The results were based on a survey conducted between Oct. 19, 2009 and Nov. 23, 2009 among 5,005 Americans.

“In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide. To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy,” said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

The survey identified three main barriers to broadband adoption among Americans: affordability, lack of digital skills and relevance. (19 percent of nonadopters called the Internet a “waste of time.”)

On March 17, the FCC is set to deliver its National Broadband Plan to Congress. In the report, the FCC is expected to detail a strategy for connecting the country to affordable, world-class broadband and making the U.S. a global leader in high-speed Internet to create jobs and spur economic growth.