New Analysis Shows Offline Households Are Willing to Pay $10-a-Month on Average for Home Internet Service, Though Three in Four Say Any Cost is Too Much
Affordability is a core part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All initiative. We know that access to an Internet connection isn’t true access unless everyone can afford that connection.
During Digital Inclusion Week, we are analyzing NTIA’s Internet Use Survey data that highlight disparities in Internet adoption. Our previous blog discussed some of the barriers facing the 24 million households that do not use the Internet at home.
Our analysis shows affordability as a driving factor around why some households continue to remain offline, confirming that cost of service is an essential part of increasing Internet adoption.
To dig into this issue more, NTIA added a new question to the 2021 NTIA Internet Use Survey. We asked households not using the Internet from home: “At what monthly price, if any, would your household buy home Internet service?” This new survey question was a result of suggestions received from the public in response to our Request for Comment published in 2020, along with the results of two rounds of cognitive testing conducted by experts at the U.S. Census Bureau.
Among other improvements, this process also resulted in a change to how we ask offline households for their reasons for non-use of the Internet at home, with interviewers now reading all answer choices rather than simply marking down choices that most closely resemble stated reasons.
Internet access means access to education, healthcare, jobs, and entertainment. It’s essential to full participation in our modern economy. Still, NTIA data show that about one in five U.S. households are not connected to the Internet at home.
President Biden’s Internet for All initiative is working to connect everyone in America to affordable, reliable high-speed Internet. With NTIA spearheading the initiative, we know it’s important to make data-driven solutions and assess who is not online and what barriers are keeping them unconnected.
This week is Digital Inclusion Week, and we are analyzing NTIA’s Internet Use Survey data on the disparities around Internet adoption, including why households are offline, the cost households are willing to pay to get connected, and what we’re doing to address the digital divide.
While a majority – 58% – of the 24 million offline households express no interest or need to be online, there is also a large proportion who say they can’t afford home Internet service (18%). Regardless of their stated reasons for non-use, offline households have significantly lower incomes than their online counterparts. This suggests that even after overcoming other barriers, cost may be an additional challenge for many offline households.
Understanding Barriers to Home Internet Use