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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
US broadband take-up slows down
View of US desert
It is a slow road to high-speed access for US refuseniks
Broadband adoption in the US has slowed down, according to a new report from research group the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

According to its survey, broadband take-up has grown by just 3% in the last year.

Of the 67% of Americans online, 53% of them are now online via a broadband connection.

The remaining half are going to be harder to convert thinks report author John Horrigan.

"There are fewer people hankering for high speed now and that means less pent-up demand for broadband," he said.

No plateau

The dial-up users of 2005 tended to be older, less educated and with lower incomes than their 2002 counterparts.

While dial-up surfers in 2002 were heavier users of the internet and therefore willing converts to broadband, there is less enthusiasm among those currently in the net slow lane to make the switch, said the report.

Coupled with the fact that fewer new internet users are coming online "the stock of potential broadband subscribers is not being replenished," the report found.

Mr Horrigan did not think broadband access had entirely plateaued in the US but he did believe it would take several years to get the next 10% of broadband users online.

Rural scene
Around 15% of those in rural America have no access

Getting access to broadband technology is still an issue for some in the US, particularly those living in rural areas.

Social effects

As many as 15% of the population could be cut off from high-speed access, although official statistics are hard to come by.

This is because broadband providers are only required by the federal government to submit the postal district that they cover, rather than go into specific details of how many people in a particular area can get the technology.

The slow-down in broadband take-up is likely to have knock-on social effects, said Mr Horrigan.

E-government and healthcare information is increasingly being put online, leaving those without any net access at a distinct disadvantage.

"Details of how to get a subscription drug benefit available to senior citizens was recently put online but only 27% of over-65's have net access, meaning people were lacking information about a key benefit," said Mr Horrigan.

Net providers in the US have been offering cut-price broadband in an attempt to gain new converts but Mr Horrigan is not sure the strategy is working for those who simply do not see the benefits of having high-speed net connections.

FROM OTHER NEWS SITES: US broadband take-up slows to a crawl - 41 hrs ago
Pioneer Planet Broadband users signing up at slower rate - 42 hrs ago
Baltimore SunBroadband expansion has slowed sharply - 48 hrs ago
Xinhua News Agency Survey shows slowing high-speed Internet penetration in US - 52 hrs ago
CNET Study: Broadband penetration slowing - 58 hrs ago
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