Home broadband service grows in California but not overall Internet access

by Steve Blum • , ,

High speed home broadband service in California continues to grow, albeit slowly, but Internet use has flatlined among Californian adults. That’s one of the findings of a survey conducted by the Field Poll on behalf of the California Emerging Technology Fund.

According to the report, 87% of Californian homes were connected to the Internet in 2014 and 79% have high speed access – sorta. The survey classified smart phone access as “broadband”. And it is, in comparison to the 6% of homes that still rely on dial-up modem service. The remaining 2% didn’t say how they’re getting their Internet connection – apparently there was no box to check labeled via my neighbor’s WiFi. The split is 71% with computer access (which could be via wireline or a wide variety of wireless technologies) and 8% just relying on smartphones.

Although the take rate for broadband service is climbing – it had been hovering around 75% the past couple of years – total home use has not. That figure has been fluctuating around 86% or 87% for the past four years. Broadband growth, it seems, is coming from converted dial up customers and the I don’t know crowd.

The top line results that were released didn’t drill down on why, but it’s fair guess that the answer is something like last year’s when 36% of those who aren’t connected at home said it’s because they’re not interested in the Internet or they don’t need it, 22% said either access or computers are too expensive and 21% said they don’t know how to use it. Out-of-home broadband access is important – 6% of Californians rely on it completely. The most common source of access for those who don’t have it at home is the public library.

Click to download the 2015 press release
Click to download the 2015 slide presentation
Click to download the 2014 slide presentation