Broadband became unaffordable for some during the pandemic | The Numbers Racket

By: - June 21, 2021 6:30 am

Photo via pxHere.com

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 the year of telework and virtual learning, but for some Americans, affording a broadband connection was difficult. 

A new survey by the Pew Research Center is shining light on just how many Americans had trouble affording their home broadband connections. 

Findings

While the pandemic raged in the United States, closing businesses and schools, 15 percent of home broadband users say they had trouble paying for their high-speed internet connection. 

Another 15 percent of smartphone owners said they had trouble paying for cell phone service during the pandemic. 

Of respondents who did not have a home broadband connection, 23 percent cited “financial constraints” as the main reason they forego the service. 

Hispanic (65 percent) and Black adults (71 percent) are less likely than white adults (80 percent) to have broadband at home

Income

The survey found that low-income households – those making less than $30,000 per year – were more likely to say they had trouble affording broadband services. 

34 … the percentage of home broadband users making less than $30,000 who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

25 … the percentage of home broadband users making $30,000-49,999 who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

8 … the percentage of home broadband users making $50,000-74,999 who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

4 … the percentage of home broadband users making 75,000 or more who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

Education

The survey also found a correlation between education level and those who struggled to afford broadband. 

22 … the percentage of home broadband users with a high school education or less who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

16 … the percentage of home broadband users with some college education who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

8 … the percentage of home broadband users with a college degree or more who have had trouble paying for high-speed internet. 

The Importance of High-Speed Internet

Pew found that a majority of adults believed not having high-speed internet at home was a major disadvantage during the pandemic. 

In fact, 77 percent of U.S. adults said not having high-speed internet access at home was a major disadvantage when it came to getting school work done. Another 66 percent said it was a major disadvantage when looking for jobs. 

Other respondents also noted that it was difficult to stay in contact with family and friends (45 percent) without broadband or stay up-to-date on COVID-19 information (43 percent).

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry. Miller has an extensive background in magazine writing, editing and design. She is a graduate of Penn State University where she served as the campus newspaper’s photo editor. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in professional journalism at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In addition to her role at the Capital-Star, Miller enjoys working on her independent zines, Dead Air and Infrared. Follow her on Twitter: @Wordsby_CassieM.

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