New data collected as part of a joint project of NTIA and the Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) show the U.S. is making significant progress in the Obama administration’s efforts to get more Americans connected to the Internet. As of October 2012, 72.4 percent of American households (88 million households) have high-speed Internet at home – a 3.8 percentage point (5.5 percent) increase over the July 2011 figure.
Expanding broadband access and adoption is a top priority of NTIA and the Obama Administration. Since 2009, NTIA has invested about $4 billion in projects around the nation to expand access to and use of broadband. Broadband adoption is key to ensuring that all Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the digital economy.
To promote broadband adoption, NTIA awarded $250 million in grants to teach digital literacy skills and to help low-income households acquire discounted computer equipment and sign up for affordable broadband service. We also provided roughly $200 million in grants to install and upgrade computer centers in schools, libraries, and other public buildings to provide Internet access to those who do not have service at home. These projects made enormous strides in tackling the unique and stubborn realities that separate the broadband “haves” from the “have nots” nationwide. NTIA recently compiled some of the best practices developed from broadband adoption and digital literacy projects it funded into a Broadband Adoption Toolkit. The toolkit leverages the experience of about 100 communities to benefit the entire nation, providing practical ideas and tools for overcoming barriers to getting more Americans online.
NTIA and ESA collected the data on nationwide broadband adoption as part of an ongoing effort to benefit researchers, policymakers and the public. The data were collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly survey of approximately 54,000 households conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. We will soon release the newest edition of the Digital Nation series of reports on broadband adoption and Internet use in America. The new report – Exploring the Digital Nation: America’s Emerging Online Experience – presents results based on a July 2011 data collection that, for the first time in eight years, gathered extensive information on what Americans actually do online. Later this year, we plan to publish more detailed results of the October 2012 data collection.