Broadband Adoption Slows as Market Saturates

By  |  Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

Broadband adoption has begun to slow in the US, with 66 percent of all adults now subscribing to broadband at home. That was the finding of the Pew Internet & American Life project, who said the 3 percent year-over-year increase was the smallest since 2005.

This compares to a 8 percent increase in both 2007 to 2008 and 2008 to 2009. The slowdown may have something to do with the economy, however it probably also means that the market is beginning to saturate, and those that want or need broadband are already subscribed to it.

Another key fact in the study is that overall, US adults believe that the expansion of broadband should not be a priority, with 52 percent responding that way. Interestingly enough, seniors are the most against it with only 21 percent saying it should be a priority and 64 percent against, and respondents aged 18-29 the most supportive with a 48-46 split.

The only demographic group to show a major uptick in broadband usage were African Americans, who saw 22 percent year-over-year growth. The so called digital divide is also narrowing: it is down to an 11-point gap from 19 points the year previous according to the study.

The full report’s PDF can be found here.


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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Vulpine Says:

    I would argue that the reason broadband is slowing down is not due to saturation, but rather due to availability. In some parts of the country, all you have to do is go as little as 3 miles away from a community center ( or village) and broadband of any sort is completely unavailable and the computer user is stuck with a connection speed as low as 28.8kbps. This is true whether you're in the great, open spaces of the American plains or the rural farms of Pennsylvania. In other words, the analyzing organization is disconnected with the consumer market, expecting the market to only consist of only metropolitan users where availability is almost–but not quite–ubiquitous.

    How about giving that other 34% at least the chance to make their own decisions?

  2. Tech Says:

    It had to slow down sometime. Pretty soon all households will have broadband.

  3. Vulpine Says:

    30-some percent, when they aren't within walking distance of a CP, aren't necessarily going to get broadband all that quickly. Cable companies refuse to run a line to a group of houses only a thousand feet away from their end because "there's not enough potential customers down there to balance the cost of supplying them." Phone companies refuse to offer broadband "Because you're too far away from the switch." Even Verizon refuses to bring FIOS to my heavily-populated community because "The cable company won't let us in"–something that is supposedly completely illegal, but is still used as an excuse to avoid installing new lines.

    No, rural users will take at least as long as it has so far taken to service urban and suburban users. Don't expect 100% availability for at least another 10 years.