Smartphones pip home broadband connection in US: Pew survey

Washington, Dec 23 (IANS) Smartphones have slowed down broadband connections in the US homes where people now relay more on their smartphones for online access, a new survey has revealed.

Conducted by Washington-based think tank Pew Research Center, the survey found that home broadband now stands at 67 percent in US homes, down slightly from 70 percent in 2013 – a small but statistically significant difference which could represent a blip or might be a more prolonged reality.

This change moves home broadband adoption to where it was in 2012.

“Today, smartphone adoption has reached parity with home broadband adoption (68 percent of Americans now report that they own a smartphone) and 13 percent of Americans are “smartphone-only” – up from 8 percent in 2013,” the findings showed.

Some of the most significant changes in these adoption patterns are taking place among African Americans, those with relatively low household incomes and those living in rural areas.

Nearly 15 percent of American adults report they have become “cord cutters” – meaning they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service.

“Many of these ‘cord cutters’ say that the availability of televised content from the internet and other sources is a factor in their move away from subscription television services,” the survey pointed out.

Overall, “advanced internet access” – those with either a smartphone or a home broadband subscription – has changed little since 2013.

Some 80 percent of adults have either a smartphone or a home broadband subscription in 2015, compared with 78 percent who said this in 2013.

Still, the fact that more Americans have only a smartphone for online access at home has consequences for how people get information.

Those who are “smartphone-dependent” for access do encounter distinct challenges.

Previous Pew Research Center findings show that they are more likely than other users to run up against data-cap limits that often accompany smartphone service plans.

They also more frequently have to cancel or suspend service due to financial constraints.

Additionally, a recent Pew survey found that those who use digital tools for job searches face challenges when it comes to key tasks such as filling out job applications and writing cover letters.

“In general, when given a choice, people prefer to use their smartphone for getting in touch with family or friends but, for watching video, they prefer a device with a larger screen that uses a home broadband connection,” the new survey showed.

At the same time, many “smartphone-only” users say that the reason they do not have broadband at home is because their smartphone lets them do all they need to do online, underscoring the device’s utility for those without a home high-speed subscription, it added.

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