43% of South Carolina residents still do not adopt broadband at home
Columbia, South Carolina – Today, Connect South Carolina released new residential broadband adoption survey results revealing the top trends in technology use among key demographics in South Carolina. The preliminary indicators from the survey are available online, which gives a comprehensive view of the challenges and opportunities for expanding broadband in targeted sectors. Approximately 43% of South Carolina residents are not subscribing to broadband at home. Most notably, the majority of low-income, rural, senior, disabled adult, Hispanic, and African-American households are without broadband at home, leaving them facing an uphill battle in keeping up with essential online resources, job and educational opportunities, and social services.
This survey is conducted in support of Connect South Carolina’s efforts to close South Carolina’s digital gap. The survey explores the main barriers to adoption – cost, digital skills, and relevance – and also provides unique insights into the national broadband landscape.
“The broadband adoption gap affects us all – it affects the economic future of our communities, it affects the education of our children, and it affects the economy’s potential for job growth,” said Tom Koutsky, chief policy counsel for Connected Nation, Connect South Carolina’s parent organization. “But there are no simple solutions to what is a multifaceted problem. Our South Carolina-based research into the demographic, economic, and digital skill barriers to adoption is a crucial first step that will help communities and policymakers tailor and target effective broadband adoption solutions.”
This survey reveals that:
• 53% percent of people living in rural areas do not subscribe to broadband service at home.
• When comparing to the 57% of all households that do subscribe, there remain large gaps among key demographics:
o 74% of low-income households;
o 51% of Hispanic households; and
o 69% of seniors are without broadband.
• Approximately 170,000 children in low-income households are without access to this essential tool at home.
• 252,000 South Carolina adults say a lack of digital skills and knowledge of how to use a computer and broadband is the main reason they don’t have broadband at home.
• The biggest gap is among low-income seniors. Only 9% of low-income seniors subscribe to broadband and only 24% have a computer at home.
These results and comparisons to many others are available on Connect South Carolina’s new consumer trends widget. This interactive tool gives people the ability to view, share, and download the results. Connect South Carolina will use these survey results to target solutions in communities based on the demographic and economic barriers that the surveys indicate are most relevant to those communities.
This release comes on the heels of the FCC’s newly released plans to launch a comprehensive public-private initiative called Connect to Compete, aimed at extending digital literacy training and providing employment assistance to communities. Connect South Carolina’s parent organization, Connected Nation, is one of the top strategic advisors in the national initiative.
Connect South Carolina’s 2011 residential survey was conducted in the summer of 2011 and includes responses from 3,601 residents. The survey was conducted as part of the South Carolina Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment of 2009.
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