Smartphone Increases Accompanied By Home Broadband Decline

While consumers are living increasingly digital lives, home broadband adoption is on the decline, according to new research from the Pew Research Center.

How is that possible?

The researcher cites an increase in the share of adults who are considered “smartphone only” in that they have a smartphone, but lack broadband service at home.

In fact, some 13% of Americans are now “smartphone only” -- up from 8% in 2013, according to Pew. As a result, home broadband adoption is down to 67% from a high of 70% in 2013.

Some of the most significant changes in these adoption patterns are taking place among African Americans and other demographics with relatively low household incomes and those living in rural areas, per Pew.

Overall, “advanced Onternet access” -- those with either a smartphone or a home broadband subscription -- hasn’t changed much since 2013. To be exact, about 80% of adults have either a smartphone or home broadband today, compared with 78% of adults who said they were connected in 2013.

Unfortunately, a smartphone connection can’t yet entirely replace a home broadband connection, according to John Horrigan, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center.

“Those who are ‘smartphone dependent’ for access encounter distinct challenges,” Horrigan explains in a new report. “Many ‘smartphone only’ users sometimes struggle to do some of the things they want to do online.”

Also of note, 15% of adults are now “cord cutters,” in that they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service. Many of these consumers say that the availability of TV content and other video sources online are a factor in their shift away from subscription television services.

For its findings, Pew conducted a national telephone survey of 2,001 Americans age 18 or older conducted between June 10 and July 12 of this year.

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