2012 Minnesota Internet Survey                                           Digital Divide 2.0 and beyond                    ...
100%                                                               Rural                                                  ...
100%80%60%                                                              Figure 2: Broadband                               ...
Less than High School                                                       HS or equivalent                       Figure ...
computers and broadband as               Table 2: Percentage of home Internet users engaging in selected activitieswell (T...
Table 4: Activities with the largest increases in participation, by percentage point.                                     ...
100%                                                                                             from home, they must find...
60%                                                                           80%                                         ...
100%80%                                                                               65+                                 ...
of socio-economic inclusion, as        of seniors adopting Internet and      ing what technologies they useopposed to just...
fall further behind, with seri-       Endnotes                                8                                           ...
www.ruralmn.org   Twitter @ruralpolicymnwww.facebook.com/ruralmn   2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
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2012 Minnesota Internet Survey: The Digital Divide 2.0 and Beyond


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Examining the current state of Internet access in Minnesota and how it redefines the digital divide.

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2012 Minnesota Internet Survey: The Digital Divide 2.0 and Beyond

  1. 1. 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey Digital Divide 2.0 and beyond After more than ten years of asking rural Minnesotans about their access to high-speed Internet service, it is possible to draw a few conclusions: 1. It is fairly well accepted now that broadband access has become a ne- cessity for functioning at full capacity in today’s world. In other words, Internet access and broadband access are no longer considered a luxury 2. The digital divide isn’t what it used to be. The divide can be character- but rather a necessity by most people. ized as the haves and have-nots, those who have broadband and those who do not. In the early days of broadband, the main barrier to being a “have” was availability of the service itself. Now that infrastructure is nearly ubiquitous, at least in Minnesota, the other barriers, which have always been there, are becoming more apparent, particularly in the area 3. Broadband no longer ties the user to a fixed location (i.e., the home). of bandwidth. In just the past few years, technology has been introduced that makes it possible for people to access the Internet from just about anywhere. This trend is important not only to people who use the Internet and do busi- 4. The preceding points tie into what appears to be a generational change ness on it, but to those who provide access and create policy affecting it. in how people access, use, and think of the Internet. This study was completed with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Minnesota Telecom Alliance, Networks United for Rural Voice, the Blandin Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Thanks also to the City of Minneapolis for their collaboration. A PDF of this report can bedownloaded from the Center’s web site at www.ruralmn.org. The Center for Rural Policy and Development, based in St. Peter, Minn., is a private, not-for-profit © 2012 Center for Rural Policy policy research organization dedicated to benefiting Minnesota by providing its policy makers with and Development an unbiased evaluation of issues from a rural perspective.
  2. 2. 100% Rural Computer 80% Internet Broadband Figure 1: Adoption 60% Twin Cities rates of computers, Computer Internet service, and Internet 40% broadband in the Twin Broadband Cities metro area and the rest of Minnesota 20% since 2001. 0% 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2009* 2010 2011* 2012 -2008History of the study is similar to that of the Twin the 2012 Minnesota Internet The Center included ques- Cities. Survey. A total of 1,652 adultstions on broadband adoption in • The use of social media, in Minnesota were interviewed.its first rural Minnesota survey in voice over Internet Protocol A combination of landline and2001. The next year, the survey (VOIP, online phone calls), cellular random digit dial (RDD)focused solely on broadband and and streaming video are up samples was used to representthe Internet. In 2005, the seven- dramatically in the last two adults in the target areas whocounty Twin Cities metropolitan years. have access to either a landlinearea was included for the first • While the home computer or cellular telephone. The margintime to provide a comparison is still by far the most com- of error for the statewide sampleto rural counties. And in 2012, mon means of accessing the was ±2.53% at a 95% confidenceinterviewers called cell phone Internet for Minnesota house- level. The margin of error for bothnumbers for the first time, rec- holds, the number of people the Twin Cities sample and theognizing the number of house- accessing the Internet outside rest of Minnesota sample washolds that have given up landline their homes continues to ±3.58%. The complete methodol-phones and now use cell phones grow, as does the number and ogy report can be found at www.as their only phone. variety of devices they are us- ruralmn.org. ing to access it.Major findings • There are a number of rea- Adoption rates• Adoption rates for computers, sons people do not purchase The survey results show that Internet access, and broad- broadband for their homes, the adoption rates for computers, band continue to go up but at but the primary ones are lack the Internet, and broadband were a slower rate in both the rural of interest and cost. up in 2012 compared to 2010, counties and the Twin Cities. although the increase was not as The Twin Cities is still several Methodology great as in past years. The state- percentage points ahead of As in past studies, the state wide rate of broadband adoption the rest of the state in terms of was divided into two regions, the went from 69.5% of households adoption: 79.2% for the Twin seven-county Twin Cities metro- to 75.4% of households. In Cities vs. 70.6% for rural politan area, or “Metro,” and the 2012, 70.6% of rural households Minnesota. remaining 80 counties making up reported purchasing broadband• Over one quarter of Minneso- the rest of Minnesota, or “Rural.” service, compared to 79.2% of ta households (27%) use cell The Social Science Research In- Twin Cities households. Figure 1 phones only, no landlines. stitute at the University of North shows how computer, Internet, The rate for rural Minnesota Dakota, Grand Forks, conducted and broadband adoption rates2 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
  3. 3. 100%80%60% Figure 2: Broadband adoption rates by age group for the Twin Cities metro40% area counties and the rest of Minnesota.20% 0% 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ Rural Metro 100%have changed since 2001. 80% Part of the reason for a slowerrate of increase may be the 60%recent recession. A 2010 PewInternet and American Life study 40%indicated that adoption rates fellnationwide during the recession.1 20%However, it is also likely thatthese technologies are reaching 0%their natural saturation point. < $25,000 $25,000 –$39,000 $40,000 –$49,000 $50,000 –$74,000 $75,000 $100,000 $150,000 + –$99,000 –$150,000The broadband adoption rate in Rural MetroFigure 1 shows a typical S-curveassociated with technology adop- Figure 3: Broadband adoption by income group for the Twin Cities and rural Minnesota.tion: adoption starts slowly withthe early adopters, gains momen-tum as the bulk of the population < $25,000catches on, then slows down asthe last late adopters come on $25,000 to $39,000board and adoption nears itsmaximum. $40,000 to $49,000The impact of age, income, $50,000 to $74,000education $75,000 to $99,000 Age. In looking at who hasor has not adopted broadband at $100,000 +home, age, income, and educa- 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%tion are still major predictors. 2003 2012Figure 2 shows the breakdown ofbroadband adoption in the home Figure 4: Broadband adoption rates by household income for ruralby age group (out of all house- Minnesota in 2003 and 2012.holds). As it has been for the lastdecade, the adoption rate amongseniors (age 65 and over) is stillthe lowest, but it continues to2012 Minnesota Internet Survey 3
  4. 4. Less than High School HS or equivalent Figure 5: Broadband Some College adoption by level of 2-year College education attained, in the Twin Cities and rural 4-year College Minnesota. Master’s Degree Doctoral Degree Professional Degree (JD, MD) 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Rural Metrogrow each year. In 2003, the first phones and other mobile devices This drop in the Twin Cities,year we reported specifically or borrowing a wireless connec- therefore, could be a reflection ofon seniors, 5.6% of rural senior tion at a public hotspot. the recession. On the other hand,households had broadband. Income. Income has also considering the younger medianIn 2012, 48.5% of rural senior been a long-time predictor of age of the Twin Cities population,households had broadband, Internet and broadband adoption. it could also be a reflection of thewhile 53.7% of Twin Cities senior Figure 3 shows how broadband rise in the use of smart phoneshouseholds did. adoption is affected by income, and other portable devices, as Interestingly, we see that the while Figure 4 shows how the discussed earlier.adoption rate for the youngest pattern has stayed consistent Education. Breaking out theage group is also low, particularly between 2003 and 2012. data by education levels shows ain rural Minnesota (68% com- While home broadband pattern similar to that of income,pared to 81% in the Twin Cities). adoption has risen in the lowest where the higher the level of edu-This low figure does not necessar- income group (less than $25,000) cation attained, the more likely aily mean that people in this age over the last two years in rural household is to have a computer,group are not on the Internet or Minnesota households, going Internet, and broadband technol-not adopting broadband. It only from 25% in 2010 to 35% in ogy (Figure 5). The differencesindicates a lower percentage of 2012, it appears to have dropped between rural and metro adop-households in this age group with for metro households, from 40% tion rates within each group arebroadband in their homes. A clue to 32%. One reason may be the not large.comes from another 2010 study recession. As mentioned earlier, The impact of children inby the Pew Internet and Ameri- a Pew Research study found that the house. The findings showcan Life Project that found that nationally, broadband adoption that households with school-agenationwide, 84% of young adults slowed dramatically in 2010.3 children are more likely to haveage 18-29 go online using theircell phones or a laptop; in other Table 1: Impact of school-age children in the household on adoption rates.words, a portable device that canbe taken out of the home.2 The Rural Metrolow number of 18- to 24-year- Kids No kids Kids No kidsolds in rural Minnesota with a Do you have a computer? 89.7% 74.0% 96.4% 81.6%broadband connection at home Do you have an Internetmay indicate that this group is connection? 88.7% 69.1% 93.9% 77.5%bypassing a fixed home connec- Do you have broadband? 85.7% 64.9% 90.9% 73.1%tion altogether and are simply us- How important is being able to ac-ing the cell service on their smart cess broadband? (Very important) 58.5% 37.9% 65.2% 51.2%4 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
  5. 5. computers and broadband as Table 2: Percentage of home Internet users engaging in selected activitieswell (Table 1). Age of the primary in the last six months.decision makers in the household Rural Metrois presumably a major factor Send and receive email 96.2% 98.6%here. Notice the difference in the Check the weather 88.7% 89.3%perceived importance of broad- Access news web sites 79.9% 82.6%band between those with and Research a purchase you’re planning 79.6% 86.3%those without children, especiallyfor rural Minnesota. Purchase something at an online store or auction 77.6% 84.0% Do banking, pay bills or other financial businessThings we do online online 77.2% 85.4% The Minnesota Internet Study Stay informed on community news and events 69.6% 69.6%also tracks activities that home Share photos 69.3% 79.8%Internet users engage in. Table 2 Research medical information 63.9% 70.1%shows the percentage of rural and Download music or video files 55.0% 73.0%Twin Cities home Internet users Watch movies or TV shows 45.7% 70.5%engaging in these activities. Email Search for employment 42.9% 52.1%is still virtually universal. Social Do homework 39.9% 45.0%media, which has been available Place a phone call over the Internet 37.4% 44.4%to the public for only about fiveyears, is already at 75% for rural Do work for employer at home 33.4% 43.8%Minnesota and over 80% for the Communicate with your child’s school 33.0% 39.7%Twin Cities. Sell goods or services online or advertise 27.4% 24.3% While the gap in participation Interact with the government or a governmentrates between rural Minnesota official 21.0% 24.4%and Twin Cities consumers has Take a high school or college class online 15.8% 21.5%closed for most activities, there Check agricultural commodity prices 13.8% 7.4%are still a handful of activities that Communicate with doctor or nurse or otherhome Internet users engage in caregiver 12.7% 23.4%more frequently in the Twin Cit-ies compared to rural Minnesota(Table 3). In the past two years, someactivities have seen a large Table 3: Difference by percentage points in engagement, rural Minnesota Internet users compared to Twin Cities Metro Internet users.increase in popularity. Table 4shows a list of activities that saw Rural Metro Differencesome of the largest growth in Watch movies or TV shows 45.7% 70.5% 24.8use between 2010 and 2012 in Download music or video files 55.0% 73.0% 18.0percentage points. The growth in Communicate with doctor orthese activities may reflect simply 12.7% 23.4% 10.7 nurse or other caregiverthe increase in their availability Share photos 69.3% 79.8% 10.5as new services such as stream- Do work for employer at home 33.4% 43.8% 10.4ing video are introduced and inan increase in the availability ofhigher broadband speeds, mak-ing it possible to engage in theseactivities.2012 Minnesota Internet Survey 5
  6. 6. Table 4: Activities with the largest increases in participation, by percentage point. Rural Metro 2012 2010 Change 2012 2010 Change Social media 75.1% 70.6% 4.5 81.8% 68.9% 12.9 Stay informed on community news and 69.6% 36.4% 33.2 69.6% 53.1% 16.5 events Watch movies or TV shows 45.7% 32.1% 13.6 70.5% 48.0% 22.5 Place a phone call over the Internet 37.4% 9.7% 27.7 44.4% 20.4% 24.0 Play games online with other gamers 36.2% 22.0% 14.2 40.1% 28.7% 11.4 Sell goods or services online or 27.4% 14.3% 13.1 24.3% 18.0% 6.3 advertise Communicate with doctor or nurse or 12.7% 9.2% 3.5 23.4% 13.2% 10.2 other caregiverHow much time we spend if there was anything they wanted reported the same.online to do online that they couldn’t A comparison of how much When asked how many with their current speed, the households pay for their totalhours per day someone in their majority of replies involved being communications bill shows thathousehold is on the Internet, the able to do things faster and re- Twin Citians tend to pay moreaverage response for rural Min- ferred to activities such as stream- (Figure 6).nesota was 4.2 hours, while the ing and downloading video andaverage for the Twin Cities was music. Going mobile and getting away4.6 hours. As a sign of how things from the home computerhave changed, this question used Cost The introduction of smartto ask how many hours per week Rural and Metro households phones, tablet computers, andsomeone in your household was reported paying about the same lightweight laptops, along withonline. amount for their Internet service the advent of wireless Internet each month, $47.57 on average access (wi-fi) and Internet viaSpeed and satisfaction for rural households compared a cell connection, has made Although it is beyond the to $45.82 for Twin Cities house- it possible for Internet users toscope of this study to get a com- holds. However, 16% of rural migrate out of their homes. Theplete picture of what broadband respondents said they did not Pew Research study on mobilespeed is offered where, we can know how much they paid, while access reported that as of Mayget a more general idea of wheth- 24% of Twin Cities households 2010, 59% of all adult Americanser the available speed (or the onethe consumer chose) is doing 30%the job by asking respondents if 25%they are satisfied with the speed 20%of their Internet service. Overall, Figure 6:the majority of home Internet Estimated monthly 15%users said they were satisfied, communications bill. 10%although Twin Cities customerswere more satisfied than rural 5%ones: 78% of rural home Internet 0%users compared to 86% of Twin < $50 $50– $100– $150– $200– $250+ $99 $149 $199 $249Cities home Internet users. Whenasked in an open-ended question Rural Metro6 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
  7. 7. 100% from home, they must find places 80% to access the Internet. We asked everyone, regardless of whether 60% they have Internet access at 40% home, where they go to access Figure 7: Devices used 20% to connect to the Internet the Internet outside their homes. from home, among One-fifth of rural households 0% Home Tablet Cell Game Other households with Internet. (20%) and nearly one-quarter of computer phone device Twin Cities households (23%) Rural Metro reported that they had accessed the Internet at their public library in the past six months. We also asked everyone: Be- sides home, the library, or work,Table 5: Preferred device used to connect to the Internet athome, among households with Internet. are there any other places they go on a regular basis to access the Rural Metro Internet? For rural Minnesotans, Home computer 73.8% 69.9% 38% responded yes, they do go Cell phone 9.6% 11.0% someplace outside the home reg- Tablet computer 12.3% 11.0% ularly; 43% of Twin Cities house- holds responded yes as well. Gaming device 2.9% 5.3% Coffee shops were by far the most Other 1.4% 2.8% popular. Of those responding thatOther devices included laptops, iPods, video streaming devices. they access the Internet outside of home or work, 30% of rural households and 40% of Twin Cit-were going online wirelessly, us- becoming apparent in the last ies households reported visitinging either a laptop or cell phone.4 few years is a trend toward in- a coffee shop for Internet access.A look at what devices Internet creased spending by households (This breaks down to 5% of allusers in Minnesota use to con- on their cell phones. A recent rural households and 10% of allnect at home (Figure 7) shows analysis by the Wall Street Jour- Twin Cities households.)that while the computer is still nal of Bureau of Labor Statisticsthe most prevalent, other de- consumer spending data showed Importance of access at homevices are catching up, especially that between 2007 and 2011, Despite the new attention toamong younger people. When Americans increased their an- mobility and being able to accessasked if there were any other nual spending on cell phones by the Internet from anywhere, thedevices they used to access the $116, while decreasing in other survey found that many respon-Internet at home besides those areas of discretionary spending, dents still believe it is very impor-given, respondents also men- such as eating out (-$48), apparel tant that they be able to accesstioned laptops, iPods, e-readers, and other services (-$141), and broadband at home.and streaming video devices such purchasing vehicles (-$575).5,6 Figure 8 shows that 44% ofas Roku. Respondents were also As more consumers move to cell rural households and 56% ofasked which device they use the phone-based Internet service, Twin Cities households ratedmost in connecting to the Internet the trends in cell-based Internet having access to broadband atat home (Table 5). service pricing and limits on home as very important. When Expense has always been a monthly data service will bear broken down by age, however,factor in choosing to purchase monitoring. it is apparent that home broad-broadband service. One aspect When people want to use band access is less important toof mobile Internet access that is their wifi-enabled devices away the oldest and the youngest age2012 Minnesota Internet Survey 7
  8. 8. 60% 80% 70%50% 60%40% 50%30% 40% 30%20% 20%10% 10%0% 0% Not Somewhat Neutral Somewhat Very Important 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65+ important not important important Rural Metro Rural MetroFigure 8: Importance of having access to broadband at Figure 9: Percentage of respondents reporting that hav-home. ing broadband access at home is “very important,” by age group.groups in the survey (Figure 9). have to do with affordability, rel- answer in rural households wasOf respondents age 18-25, only evance, and digital literacy: they “Too expensive,” while in Twin46% of rural households and can’t afford it, they don’t see how Cities households “Too expen-43% of Twin Cities households it would benefit them, or they sive” was nearly tied with “Hassaid having broadband at home believe they wouldn’t know how access to the Internet someplacewas very important. The answer to use it.7 else.” “Not available where I live”is very likely found in the studies When Minnesotans were was at or near the bottom of theshowing that a large percentage asked why they chose not to list.of young adults are accessing the adopt Internet service for their To make a direct comparisonInternet using devices they can homes, similar reasons were between rural and Twin Citiestake anywhere. This would imply given. Approximately 25% of ru- households, however, we needthat a broadband connection in ral households and 17% of Twin to look at the data based on allthe home is less of a requirement. Cities households said they did households. While the percent- not have Internet access at home. ages in Table 6 look small, it mustUnderstanding the “have nots” When these households were be remembered that they repre- At the heart of the digital asked why, the most frequent sent thousands of households individe is a concern with getting response in each group was that both regions.broadband access to the “have they didn’t need Internet ac- When responses were brokennots.” But now that the barrier cess. The second most common down by age, interesting pat-of basic infrastructure has beenlargely removed in Minnesota, Table 6: Reasons for not having Internet access at home, among allother barriers show up more households.clearly. A 2010 analysis of data Rural Metrocollected by the Federal Commu- Doesn’t need Internet access 12.2% 7.0%nications Commission found that Has access to Internet someplace else 1.8% 2.7%the main indicators separatingthose who adopt broadband from Not available where they live 0.5% 1.0%those who do not are education, Too expensive 4.5% 2.5%income, and age. The same study Doesn’t know how to use the Internet 2.6% 1.5%found the main reasons people Concerned about the security of their information 1.6% 0.6%gave for not adopting broadband Other reason 2.3% 1.5%8 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
  9. 9. 100%80% 65+ 50-6460% 35-49 25-3440% 18-2420% ever, the response rate for “Do not need Internet” was more than 0% < $25,000 $25,000 $40,000 $50,000 $75,000 $100,000 $150,000+ double that in both groups (33% –$39,999 –$49,999 –$74,999 –$99,999 -$149,000 for rural, 26% for Twin Cities).Figure 10: Income groups broken out by age groups. Each income group is The clue again is in age. As 65+dominated by certain age groups. Figure 10 shows, the oldest Min- 50-64 nesotans in the survey are more 35-49 likely to have the lowest incomes. 25-34 Seniors are less likely to have In- 18-24 ternet at home and are less like toterns appeared. “Doesn’t need reporting an annual income of consider having Internet at homeInternet access” was still a fre- less than $25,000, 33% said they “very important.” At the samequent answer in most age groups. didn’t need Internet, and 16% time, one-third of householdsIt was understandably highest said it was too expensive. Out of in this income group are underamong older respondents. How- all Twin Cities households in the age 35. This is also the age groupever, “Has access to the Internet same income group, 26% said most likely to access the Internetsomeplace else” was a frequent they did not need Internet access, using a mobile device. They haveanswer among younger respon- while 9% said it was too expen- the technology available not todents, especially in the Twin sive. Also, 5% of rural house- have to buy fixed-location broad-Cities. holds in this income group said band access, just as they have the In looking at all rural Min- they had access to the Internet technology that makes it possiblenesota households, seniors (age elsewhere, while nearly 13% of not to have to buy a landline65 and over) were the most likely Twin Cities households in this phone. Their thought process mayto say they didn’t need Internet income group said the same. be, “So why spend the money?”access; a full 30% of rural senior For years we have known thathouseholds said so, while in the older persons and lower income Conclusions and areas forTwin Cities, the figure was 23%. persons are the least likely to further studyThe next closest age groups were adopt broadband and Internet For rural communities, thehalf these percentages. In rural technology. The analysis above term “digital divide” has referredMinnesota, households in the indicates why, and the answer for the most part to geography:18-34 age range were the most appears to be largely due to a Access was determined largelylikely to say home Internet access belief that they do not need it, by the presence of infrastructure,was too expensive (13.4%), while followed by a belief that it is too and most of that infrastructurein the Twin Cities, that same age expensive. It is understandable was concentrated in larger popu-group came in at 1.8%. The Twin for senior citizens, who have lation centers. The result was aCities’ 55-64 age group was more survived most of their lives quite tendency for rural residents to belikely to say home Internet was well without Internet access, to behind in adopting broadbandtoo expensive (6.9% of all house- say they do not need the Internet. technology. As a 2010 study byholds in that age group). But why low-income earners? Daily et al noted, over the last ten Income groups also reveal Logic would suggest that the years, broadband access has in-clues. Out of all rural households service is too expensive. How- creasingly become a requirement2012 Minnesota Internet Survey 9
  10. 10. of socio-economic inclusion, as of seniors adopting Internet and ing what technologies they useopposed to just an outcome of it.8 broadband continues to grow and where they upgrade it, butIn other words, broadband has each year. how businesses should spendcrossed the threshold from being • Affordability: Interestingly, their technology and marketinga luxury to becoming a necessity among rural households, the dollars, where consumers decideto function in today’s world. youngest age groups (18-34) ex- to spend their time, and how The good news is that Minne- pressed the biggest problem with policymakers design regulationssota, including rural Minnesota, affordability among those who do that apply to access, distribution,is ahead of many states when it not have a home Internet connec- and use.comes to broadband access. The tion yet. On the other hand, theinfrastructure to get online is an same age group of non-adopters • Speed.issue for fewer and fewer house- in the Twin Cities expressed virtu- The issue of bandwidth mayholds every year. ally no issue with cost. be the most important of all. As we continue to track the • Access to alternatives: At While the percentage of house-development of broadband in the same time, nearly twice as holds with broadband continuesMinnesota, though, we find that many Twin Cities non-adopters as to rise, what speed a householdthe trends have shifted now from rural ones said they could access gets is still very much a functionthe issue of access to the issues of the Internet someplace besides of where it is located in relationmobility and bandwidth. their homes. to key infrastructure. The demand There are three areas in par- for more speed will only increaseticular where we can draw some • The mobile Internet. as new bandwidth-eating tech-conclusions and that we believe The Internet and broadband nologies are introduced. Thewill require continuing attention: are going mobile via smart concern for many household-the remaining non-adopters, the phones, lightweight laptops, tab- ers right now is the ability to donew mobile Internet, and the im- let computers, and other hand- things faster, especially streamportance of increased bandwidth. held devices. With the spread of video and music smoothly. Speed these portable devices, how are has larger public implications,• The digital divide and the re- our expectations about access to however. Business demandsmaining non-adopters. the Internet changing? How does an ever-increasing bandwidth Today, the lack of broadband this mobility affect our expecta- capacity. Education and healthinfrastructure is a barrier to ac- tions regarding reliability and our care are moving more programscess for fewer and fewer house- perceived need for speed? And and services online, and distanceholds. But now that most of those how are people affected who live learning and remote health carewho really want broadband can in areas with no good mobile are continuously put forward asget it, that leaves a group of peo- Internet options, including cell solutions to the problems ruralple who could be characterized access? Access outside the home areas have with distance and aas the more tenacious non-adopt- is significant in the same way sparse population. Universitiesers, those who have a different that cell phone-only homes are and health care facilities are stillset of barriers: Attitudes (“I don’t significant: the nature of the ser- experimenting with providingneed Internet,” “I wouldn’t know vice is changing. Consumers do education and services online,how to use it”); affordability; and not necessarily need to purchase and therefore these activitiesaccess to alternatives. a broadband connection specifi- still go somewhat unnoticed by • Attitudes: The most com- cally for their home, and they in the general public. However, inmon reason expressed by non- fact may not need to purchase the years to come, if rural com-adopters was that they did not broadband at all. Fixed-location munities are not able to keep upsee a need for Internet. This home broadband, like the land- capacity-wise, they will not bebelief was most common among line phone, is becoming optional. able to take advantage of theseseniors, and especially rural These factors not only affect the new technologies, creating theseniors. However, the percentage decisions providers make regard- distinct possibility that they will10 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey
  11. 11. fall further behind, with seri- Endnotes 8 Daily, D., Bryne, A., Powell, A.,ous implications for income and 1 Smith, A. (2010, August). Home Karaganis, J., & Chung, J. (2010).population. Broadband 2010. http://www.pewin- Broadband adoption in low-income ternet.org/Reports/2010/Home- communities. Retrieved Sept. 25, Broadband-2010.aspx 2012, from http://webarchive.ssrc. As the findings from the org/pdfs/Broadband_Adoption_survey showed, these barriers are 2 Smith, A. (2010, July). Mobile v1.1.pdfmore common in rural areas and Access 2010. http://www.pewin-are another example of why deci- ternet.org/Reports/2010/Mobile-sion makers working on these is- Access-2010.aspxsues may take into consideration 3 Smith, A. (2010, August).whether the solution will work in 4 Smith, A. (2010, July).the same way or as effectively forrural areas as for urban areas. 5 Troianovski, A. (2012). Cell phones are eating the family budget [Elec- Internet service providers are tronic version]. Wall Street Journal.well aware of these trends in the http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000demand for mobility and band- 0872396390444083304578018731width. And since the younger 890309450.htmldemographic groups are the ones 6 U.S. Department of Labor, Bureaumost focused on going mobile of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expen-and doing more things on the ditures. (2012). Consumer Expendi-Internet, these are trends that are ture Survey. http://www.bls.gov/cex/not going away. Policymakers csxstnd.htmand other decision makers should 7 Horrigan, J.B. (2010). Broadbandkeep these trends in mind when it adoption and use in America. Re-comes time for creating policies trieved Sept. 25, 2012, from http://aimed at providing or encourag- online.wsj.com/public/resources/ing Internet service. documents/FCCSurvey.pdf2012 Minnesota Internet Survey 11
  12. 12. www.ruralmn.org Twitter @ruralpolicymnwww.facebook.com/ruralmn 2012 Minnesota Internet Survey