Toward Understanding U.S. Rural-Urban Differences in Broadband Internet Adoption and Use

Toward Understanding U.S. Rural-Urban Differences in Broadband Internet Adoption and Use

Peter Stenberg (Economic Research Service, USDA1, USA) and Mitchell Morehart (Economic Research Service, USDA, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-011-2.ch010
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Abstract

The Internet has become entrenched in the U.S. economy over the last 15 years;access and use of the Internet has increased for all regions of the United States, most types of households and work places, and all income groups. In this chapter we explore how access technologies may affect household on-line activity patterns and address some of the aspects that differentiate urban and rural household Internet use. Rural households are less likely than urban households in having broadband Internet access but this varies regionally across the country. Study suggests that broadband Internet access is no longer perceived a luxury, but as a necessity and that there is pent-up demand for broadband Internet access in rural areas.
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On-Line Consumer Activities

The household, or consumption, sector is a major, perhaps the greatest, demand-side driver in the development of the Internet economy. There are two major data sources directly addressing individual household on-line activity: the Bureau of the Census and PEW (PEW Internet & American Life Project). Unfortunately, the Bureau of Census has not collected data on household on-line activity since 2003 (outside the limited “are households on-line” questions more recently) so we must rely on the small sample PEW surveys for any understanding of individual household’s on-line behavior instead of the aggregate e-retail, peer-to-peer, web-page access counts, and other useful information that are commonly reported.

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