Internet usage surges; 31 percent of U.S. homes lack connection

The number of Americans who use the Internet has surged through the heart of the Great Recession over the past two years, with older adults, women, minority groups and unemployed people now roving the Web in unprecedented numbers, according to new federal data. Just 31 percent of American households lacked an Internet connection as of October 2009, down from 38 percent in 2007. The vast majority of those homes use a broadband connection, with the share of households with a dial-up connection slipping below 5 percent, according to data released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the U.S. Census Bureau. Despite the state’s being the home of Silicon Valley and some of the world’s most influential Internet companies, Californians were less likely to access the Internet than Americans overall. About 68 percent of Californians access the Internet through a home, work or wireless connection, compared with more than 75 percent of the population in more wired states, including Oregon, Utah, Washington and Alaska. With Google announcing plans to launch a series of experimental broadband networks more than 100 times faster than what is commonly available to Americans today, the federal data is an initial view of what is ultimately intended to be a highly localized database of gaps in Internet access that could be filled by government or private industry, said Daniel Weitzner, NTIA’s associate administrator for Advertisement policy


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