Study: 20 percent of US residents still don't use the Internet

It's the year 2013 and the Internet is effectively everywhere. You can surf the web and get emails on your tablet, smartphone, laptop, big screen television and even your refrigerator. In fact, 98 percent of the US can now access some kind of broadband Internet service.

Yet with all sorts of way people can connect to the Internet, there are still a lot of people out there that never use it. The New York Times reports that about 20 percent of US residents don't use the Internet at home, school or work, or even on their mobile device. That means about 60 million people in the United States have likely never seen a cute kitten video, or that double rainbow guy.

However, the US government is concerned that percentage has not changed much since 2009, when the Obama Administration launched a $7 billion program to expand broadband Internet access to parts of the US that previously were not supported by such efforts. The government is worried that, as more of its services are switching to the Internet, it is also cutting off access to those people who don't use broadband services.

It's not a surprise to hear that there is a larger percentage of older people who don't use the Internet. The survey says slightly more than half of all US citizens that are 65 years old or older use the net, compared to well over three quarters that are under age 65.

However, even people who grew up in the Internet age can't or won't access it. One big reason is cost. The article used 41 year old Gloria Bean of Calhoun City, Mississippi as an example. Bean, an elementary school teaching assistant, claims she cannot afford Internet access in her home and has to take her three kids to the local library so they can access the net for schoolwork.

The Federal Communications Commission, along with some ISPs, have tried to offer cheap Internet access to low income houses. Google Fiber offers free 5Mbps Internet access to its customers in Kansas City for at least seven years if they pay a one time $300 construction fee.

Source: New York Times
Man with laptop problem image via Shutterstock

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10 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

But, is it more related with economical, social or geographical issues? that could bring some light to the matter.

We could lower the cost to almost nothing if commercial streaming services paid part of their subscription fees to the ISPs. Right now the end user has to cover their infrastructure cost even if they don't use it.

That's quite the presumption that the ISPs would lower the price paid by consumers. Taking a look around at the big players, I think that's rather naive.

6 weeks ago their only option would have been to buy a 360...

its amazing how many people I see from time to time that don't have the internet. their the pensioners that are looking for a cheap pc or laptop that they can use because their kids have told them Skype is the new phone call and such..

It would be better, I think, if the number of people who don't use it were even higher than that. As much as I enjoy exploring it, it stops me from getting anything productive done in the evenings & weekends!

People should get out more, interact with actual people, in person, more...

FloatingFatMan said,
It would be better, I think, if the number of people who don't use it were even higher than that. As much as I enjoy exploring it, it stops me from getting anything productive done in the evenings & weekends!

People should get out more, interact with actual people, in person, more...

Duh! Do you think!!

Exactly why I've learned that once I get off here in the morning, I'm pretty much done with this stuff!

Used to be on it all day,but even this gets boring after a while now.

Don't ever use my phone for internet crap either!