Broadband growth slows, except in rural markets

The Pew Internet and American Life Project says in its latest report that broadband adoption in the U.S. has tapered to a trickle within the last year or so. The number of adults Americans with broadband connections in their homes has grown only about 1 percent since late last year to about 55 percent. 

The most startling figure in the report is a 3 percent decline in broadband adoption among lower-income Americans. Among those who bring home less than $20,000 annually, broadband adoption fell from 28 percent in early 2007 to about 25 percent this spring. U.S. residents in the next income group--between $20,000 and $40,000--did see broadband adoption growth of about 24 percent within the last year.

Meanwhile, the brightest part of the report is that broadband adoption in rural markets actually grew about 23 percent within the last year, from 31 percent penetration to about 38 percent. That growth comes as numerous groups and legislators around the country are championing the rural broadband cause, probably much more so than anyone is championing broadband for Americans with lower than $20,000 annual incomes.

The report says that broadband prices have declined only 4 percent in recent years, and 35 percent of those surveyed by Pew said they would consider signing up for broadband if it were cheaper. Will broadband service providers take time out from their development and marketing of higher-end service tiers to address the situation?

For more:
- see this post at GigaOm