More Than 3 Million Californians Can’t Afford Or Access The Internet

Source: Last

While 91% of California households have internet service, an estimated 3.5 million people remain disconnected, according to new findings released Thursday.

Cost is the main barrier to internet service, according to researchers who gave a briefing on Thursday. Residents spend an average of $83.60 per month on broadband, though people who live in rural areas pay about $5 more. Low-income households on average pay $69.40 per month, likely due to discounted service programs and lower speed/lower cost service plans.

The 2023 Statewide Digital Equity Survey from USC and the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) provides the most up-to-date picture of broadband adoption across the state and helps inform policy decisions at the local and state levels.

Nearly 1 in 3 respondents say home broadband services are either not available or not adequate where they live. Residents can look up their address on the state’s interactive broadband map to review and report internet speeds and available service. The Federal Communications Commission just published an updated national version, though it’s been criticized in the past for relying on incomplete data from internet companies.

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