But when we look at the overall reasons why Americans don’t have broadband, availability isn’t the biggest barrier. Neither is price. Those two, combined, only account for one-third of Americans without broadband. Two-thirds simply don’t want it.
What’s the point?
The bigger issue is a lack of perceived value. 19 percent of dial-up users, for example, say that “nothing” would get them to upgrade, not even lower prices. Of the 25 percent of Americans that don’t regularly use the Internet at all (Hi, Mom!), a third said that they were “not interested in going online,” almost ten percent thought it was too “difficult,” and seven percent simply don’t “have time.”
Older and poorer Americans tend to be the ones who see less need for broadband, and it’s clear that demand for it could be boosted through national e-health and e-government programs. But Pew’s main point is that working on price and access alone will only bring broadband to a limited subset of Americans who don’t already have it—in the short term, at least.
And just how long is that short term? As long as the 5 years or so it will take to do last-mile buildouts?