The adoption of broadband internet access slowed dramatically over the last year. Two-thirds of American adults (66%) now have a broadband internet connection at home, a figure that is little changed from the 63% with a high-speed home connection at a similar point in 2009.

Most demographic groups experienced flat-to-modest broadband adoption growth over the last year. The notable exception to this trend came among African-Americans, who experienced 22% year-over-year broadband adoption growth.

  • In 2009, 65% of whites and 46% of African-Americans were broadband users (a 19-point gap)
  • In 2010, 67% of whites and 56% of African-Americans are broadband users (an 11-point gap)

By a 53%-41% margin, Americans say they do not believe that the spread of affordable broadband should be a major government priority. Contrary to what some might suspect, non-internet users are less likely than current users to say the government should place a high priority on the spread of high-speed connections.

The new Pew Internet Project survey found that Americans have mixed views about the problems non-broadband users face due to their lack of a high-speed internet connection. There is no major issue on which a majority of Americans think that lack of broadband access is a major disadvantage, although African-Americans, Latinos and young adults are more keenly attuned than average to the impact of a lack of broadband access.

  • Job opportunities and career skills: 43% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about job opportunities or gaining new career skills. Some 23% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 28% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Health information: 34% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to getting health information. Some 28% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 35% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Learning new things to improve and enrich life: 31% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to learning new things that might enrich or improve their lives. Some 31% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 32% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Government services: 29% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to using government services. Some 27% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 37% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Keeping up with news and information: 23% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to keeping up with news and information. Some 27% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 47% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
  • Keeping up with what is happening in their communities: 19% of Americans believe that lack of broadband is a “major disadvantage” when it comes to finding out about their local community. Some 32% think lack of access is a “minor disadvantage” and 45% think it is “not a disadvantage.”
[Source:  Internet & American Life Project.  Pew Research. 11 Aug. 2010.  Web.  17 Aug. 2010.]