20% of American Households Still Offline

Released: 
August 15, 2013

One in five U.S. households has no ready Internet access. Least likely to have access? The poor and less educated.

On Wednesday the White House revisited a proposal from earlier this summer that aims to expand high-speed internet access to 99 percent of schools. It would mean slightly increased FCC fees for cellphone owners - the kind of fees that are wrapped into a bill that nowadays likely includes an internet access package for your smartphone.

With the internet now a ubiquitous part of many smartphones, many of us think of the web as not only our constant companion, but a virtual necessity. But in fact, one in five American households has no ready Internet access.

71 percent of U.S. households were wired for the web in 2010, and another 9 percent of the population had ready access somewhere else, like a workplace or library. That left 20 percent without a connection.

Lack of access is more common among poorer and less educated Americans. 99 percent of households making $150,000 or more had Internet access, compared to only 57 percent of households making $15,000 or less.

Today’s video makes clear how the Internet hasn’t touched everyone just yet. Watch it, share it, then join discussion below. Should government money go to make broadband connections as common as phone or electricity hookups? Is it worth a small increase in your cellphone bill to take a step in that direction?