But as much as 30 percent of households do not have a connection faster than dial-up speed, according to government figures released this week.
In its semiannual report on Internet Access Services, the Federal Communications Commission found that as of June 30, 2013, roughly 70 percent of households had fixed Internet connections of at least 0.2 megabits per second, a rather slow speed but generally faster than dial-up. Most people with Internet connections have even faster speeds, however. About 54 percent of all households can download data or video at a rate of three megabits per second or better. The F.C.C. defines broadband, or high-speed Internet service, as having a minimum download speed of four megabits per second.
The figures show a stubbornly persistent digital divide in this country between households that subscribe to Internet service and those that do not. Other figures in the report show that Internet adoption rates grow along with income and education. In addition, city dwellers are more likely to subscribe to Internet service than are residents of less-populated areas.
Among other highlights of the study:
- Mobile Internet subscriptions are growing more rapidly than home connections, and the speed of the connections are increasing as well. As of last June, there were 93 million mobile connections in the United States with speeds of at least three megabits per second, compare with 43 million a year earlier.
- Most Americans have access to multiple providers of fast Internet service. About 54 percent of households live in census tracts where three or more companies provide home Internet speeds of 10 megabits per second. Only 7 percent of households have access to just one such provider.
- About 80 percent of households in the top 10 percent of earners have Internet connections faster than dial-up. For the households in the lowest 10 percent of income, 45 percent have connections faster than dial-up.
- In counties with the highest rate of college graduates, 80 percent of households have Internet service. In those with the lowest rate, less than half of households subscribe.