Understanding the Broadband Adoption Gap | USTelecom: And most Americans have chosen to take advantage of widely available internet service. According to NTIA’s data, the share of American households using the internet at home has risen from 26 percent (27 million households) in 1998 to 73 percent (92 million households) in 2015. The share of households in which someone uses Internet anywhere—at home or in other locations such as a school, a library, or a workplace—is now at 79 percent, Yet, 33 million U.S. households (27 percent) still do not use the internet at home. Government data suggests (link is external) that the gap between rural and urban area internet usage has remained stubbornly constant at anywhere from 6 to 9 percentage points. In 2015, 69 percent of rural residents reported being online, compared to 75 percent of urban residents.This is part of a continued push by the telephone company trade group to shift the focus away from modernizing America's outdated, metallic telecommunications infrastructure to fiber to the premise (FTTP). The strategy is to shift time back 15 to 20 years when consumers were first using Internet protocol-based advanced telecommunications services to "go online" to access email and websites via dialup and later "broadband" Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service. That glosses over the fact that IP provides other modes of telecommunications including video and voice in addition to these applications. Legacy telcos also like to conflate mobile wireless service with premise service to distract from landline infrastructure deficiencies.
Why the propaganda campaign? Because as the nation's crisis of inadequate telecom infrastructure deepens and grows more urgent, pressure builds for public policy solutions that could seriously disrupt the industry as it lacks the resources to address the infrastructure gaps. Lacking the financial resources, all the industry can do is to attempt to reframe the issue in an attempt to ward off any disruptive policy changes.