Michigan Home Broadband Adoption: More Work To Be Done

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Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

Fiber optic cables. Wikimedia Commons photo from Sandia National Laboratories

LANSING (WWJ) – Turns out there are a variety of reasons to say no to broadband Internet access in the home.

New research released Thursday by Connect Michigan shows that even Michiganders who recognize the value of high-speed access may turn it down due to pricing and their level of digital literacy.

Statewide, 71 percent of Michigan adults have broadband at home. Underrepresented groups among broadband access include rural residents (65 percent), those age 65 or older (44 percent), the unemployed (57 percent), those with no college education (52 percent), low-income adults (46 percent) and African-Americans (63 percent).

Of the 29 percent of Michigan adults who do not subscribe to broadband service at home, roughly 2.2 million people, 53 percent find a way to get Internet access in other ways — 31 percent from locales outside the home, such as work or public computing centers at libraries and schools, 16 percent via dialup or smartphone, and 6 percent through all three — locales outside the home, dialup and smartphone.

Among all home broadband non-adopters in Michigan, the biggest share of non-adopters (29 percent) say that the main reason they do not subscribe to home broadband service is because they do not see enough value in being connected, so they do not consider the service relevant to their lives. The monthly cost of broadband service, in addition to the cost of the computer and installation needed to get online, is cited by one in five Michigan households (20 percent) that do not subscribe to broadband. Nearly one in ten non-adopters (9 percent) cite the ability to access the Internet someplace other than home, while 7 percent say they do not subscribe to home broadband service because it is not available where they live.

Not all non-adopters cite the same reasons, though. More than two out of five Michigan adults who do not use the Internet at all (43 percent) say they do not subscribe because broadband is not relevant to them. On the other hand, nonadopters who only access the Internet outside of home are the most likely to cite the cost of broadband or the ease of accessing the Internet at locations other than home as the main reasons why they do not subscribe at home.

Nonadopters who only access the Internet at home through dial-up or on a smartphone are the most likely to say they do not subscribe to home broadband service because it is not available.

In addition, nearly one in three of these non-adopters (32 percent) cite a lack of digital literacy skills, suggesting that many of these Michigan adults perceive smartphones as more “user friendly” and less complicated than accessing the Internet on a traditional computer.

Read the report at this link. 

“Michigan residents’ still face several barriers to the adoption of broadband at home,” said Connect Michigan State Program Manager Eric Frederick. “By working to alleviate these barriers, residents, businesses, and communities can experience the benefits of broadband including enhancededucation, access to government services, and improved communications.”

Connect Michigan has been working to address all barriers to adoption through its Connected Community Engagement Program. It’s been one year this month since Charlevoix County was the first in the nation to be certified as a Connected Community. Today, 28 Michigan communities are engaged in the program and developing action plans to expand technology forpositive economic impact.

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 thestate’s underserved areas. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit http://www.connectmi.org.

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