Skip to Content

One in Five Americans Still Lack Any Broadband Access

Smartphones boost “broadband” coverage, but gaps remain that could be served by TV spectrum and other technologies.
August 26, 2013

Even though more than half of Americans own smartphones, a significant gap in broadband access persists in the United States, according to a new survey released today by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. The survey says 70 percent of American adults have broadband access in their homes, and a large proportion of those also have smartphones. An additional 10 percent of Americans get Internet access from smartphones alone. 

Yet with one in five Americans still lacking broadband, there’s still a large deficit to be addressed. This can be done relatively inexpensively through a few approaches, including repurposing television spectrum, often called “Super Wi-Fi” (see “TV Airwaves Fill the Broadband Gaps”); harnessing new software-defined radios to make clever use of unlicensed spectrum (see “4G on the Baby Monitor Frequency”); sharing spectrum now controlled by the military, an idea now being tested with the U.S. Navy (see “Military Considers Sharing Radar Frequencies with Wireless Networks”); or even using balloons circling the planet to beam down Internet coverage, as Google has proposed to some skepticism (see “African Entrepreneurs Deflate Google’s Balloon Idea”). The new report makes clear the stakes involved in these efforts.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

AGI is just chatter for now concept
AGI is just chatter for now concept

The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it

Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.

Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI
Hoan Ton-That, CEO of Clearview AI

The walls are closing in on Clearview AI

The controversial face recognition company was just fined $10 million for scraping UK faces from the web. That might not be the end of it.

spaceman on a horse generated by DALL-E
spaceman on a horse generated by DALL-E

This horse-riding astronaut is a milestone in AI’s journey to make sense of the world

OpenAI’s latest picture-making AI is amazing—but raises questions about what we mean by intelligence.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.