Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

David Talbot

A View from David Talbot

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.

More from Connectivity

What it means to be constantly connected with each other and vast sources of information.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.