The new millennium has witnessed a rapid rise in broadband Internet connections in the United States. While the growth rate of total Internet connections at home slowed somewhat after 2001, the number of household broadband connections grew rapidly over the last decade. As of October 2010, the nationwide broadband adoption rate equaled 68.2 percent of households, up from 63.5 percent one year earlier. Overall, the growth of broadband Internet adoption in the United States stems from two sources: (1) supplanting dial-up services in many households, and (2) expanding the market for household Internet connections.
The nationwide trend toward widespread adoption of broadband Internet connections has occurred among virtually all demographic groups, with nearly universal year-over-year growth. Adoption and growth rates, however, are uneven among various demographic groups. Over the past year, gaps decreased in a number of demographic categories, but persisted with respect to family income, education, age, race/ethnicity, employment status, household type, and disability status. Gender-specific adoption rates remained at virtual parity. The average urban-rural differential narrowed, but a ten-percentage point gap remains. State-specific adoption varied widely. Almost 72 percent of Americans use the Internet at some location, increasing from 68.4 percent twelve months prior. The most popular locations for Internet access outside the home are the workplace and school, followed by public libraries and “someone else’s house.”