Broadband has become such a politicized issue in the US that it’s always reassuring to hear about an idea or a new finding that has the chance to take public conversation in a new direction. This week a consultant partner of BroadbandCensus.com, Brian Webster, has a new report out that clarifies broadband adoption rates around the country. (Found via Michael’s Insight) Rather than measure subscriber numbers against total US households, the new report plots take rates only against US households with access to broadband. The report finds that among households with access to broadband, adoption runs at an estimated 72.9%. That number is significantly higher than earlier estimates that considered both households with and without access to high-speed Internet services.
There is one caveat here. Because the new study includes both fixed and mobile broadband adoption, households that subscribe to both are counted twice. For example, I have both Comcast high-speed Internet service at home, and I subscribe to Clearwire’s Clear WiMAX service. My household would be counted twice in this study.
In any case, the new study by Webster illustrates the type of research needed to determine where and how to focus efforts on increasing broadband adoption. Expand fiber deployments? Push 4G networks out faster to unserved areas? The FCC even has an interesting idea to use set-tops to push adoption above that 72.9% mark among households with access to services that have not yet subscribed. The ideas are out there. Continued research is needed to make the best decisions about which ones deserve funding.