According to research from the Pew Internet & American Life project presented at the Internet Innovation Alliance's Symposium in Washington, D.C., broadband Internet adoption rates are up 15% in 2009, even as Americans cut back on other entertainment and communication services. Moreover, those who don't have it say that relevance to their daily lives is a bigger sticking point than cost.
"Broadband connectivity is price inelastic," Larry Irving, co-chair of the Internet Innovation Alliance (IIA), tells Marketing Daily. "There's a bigger problem with people saying 'I don't need it' than people saying 'I can't afford it.'"
According to the research, 63% of American adults have broadband Internet connections in their homes. Moreover, the survey found that while only 9% of Americans said they had canceled or cut back on online service, 22% said they had canceled or cut back on cable TV, and 22% said they had canceled or cut back on cell phone service.
"People are willing to shave premium services from their cable and services from their cell phones before they're willing to cut back on broadband," Irving says. "Once you have broadband, you never go back, apparently."
According to the survey, 55% of people who had home broadband service said it was very important to at least one dimension of their lives and community, indicating that it has become an essential part of American life.
"It's amazing how fundamental it has become," Irving says. "The goal now is to make sure those pockets that don't have it get it."
The IIA is a Washington, D.C.-based interest group whose mission is to increase broadband penetration around the country. President Obama's economic recovery plan included $7.2 billion for development of a national broadband network.