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Michigan Broadband Adoption Takes a Ten Percentage Point Boost

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mattroush Matt Roush
Matt Roush joined WWJ Newsradio 950 in September 2001 to spearhead the...
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LANSING — Connect Michigan Thursday released new data showing that broadband adoption in Michigan is increasing, with 71 percent of households now subscribing to broadband service, up from 61 percent in 2011.

This means that statewide, 5.4 million adults subscribe to home broadband service. Despite this growth, more than 2.1 million Michigan adults still do not subscribe to broadband, and gaps still exist along economic and demographic lines. (Indeed, the excellent Traverse City-based news Web site The Ticker reported Thursday that major portions of Grand Traverse County, not exactly the most remote place in Michigan, still lack any form of broadband service.)

“Awareness of broadband’s many benefits is still the number one barrier to broadband adoption by Michigan households, and this keeps 29 percent of home broadband non-adopters away from the online community, ” said Eric Frederick, Connect Michigan State Program Manager. “From access to healthcare and government information to educational and job opportunities, broadband is essential to improving the quality of life for all.”

The data are available via an interactive widget on the Connect Michigan Web site, www.connectmi.org.

Among the key findings of the residential survey are:
* Statewide, 71 percent of Michigan residents subscribe to home broadband service.  Even though this represents a 10 percentage point gain from 2011, it means that more than 2.1 million Michigan adults still do not subscribe to home broadband service.
* Despite the statewide growth in home broadband adoption, not all Michigan residents are subscribing at the same rate. African Americans, rural Michiganders, low-income households, and adults with disabilities are all less likely to subscribe to home broadband service.
* Broadband empowers Michigan workers to search for jobs or find better jobs. Statewide, 40 percent of Michigan Internet users search for jobs online, including 55 percent of low-income Internet users.
* Mobile broadband is growing in popularity across Michigan — nearly one-half of Michigan adults (47 percent) use mobile broadband service, up from 36 percent just a year ago.
* The cost of broadband is becoming a smaller barrier among Michigan residents who do not subscribe to broadband; fewer Michiganders who do not subscribe to broadband cite cost as the main reason for not subscribing, while a larger share say they don’t see home broadband service as relevant or useful.

This survey is conducted in support of Connect Michigan’s efforts to close Michigan’s digital gap and explores the barriers to adoption, rates of broadband adoption among various demographics, and the types of activities broadband subscribers conduct online, among other findings.

While the results show adoption is increasing, there are still 2,175,000 adults in Michigan who do not subscribe to the empowering technology of high-speed Internet. To address this digital divide, Connect Michigan offers the Every Community Online program where residents can find free digital literacy training and low-cost computers and Internet access.

For the 2012 Residential Technology Assessment, Connect Michigan surveyed 1,201 adults across the state in late 2012. Connect Michigan conducted this survey as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and by the American Recovery and Reinvestment of 2009.

As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the Michigan’s underserved areas. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit www.connectmi.org.

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