Connecting state and local government leaders
A survey by Consumer Reports shows that 75% of U.S. residents support local governments building out public nextworks.
Over three-quarters of U.S. residents now view home internet as a basic necessity, according to a new poll, with a similar share of respondents voicing support for public networks built out by local governments.
Since 2017, Consumer Reports has asked U.S. residents if home internet service access is as critical as utilities like electricity and water. They continue to say yes—and the percentage keeps going up. Three years ago it was 61%; in 2021, the percentage jumped to 76%.
The report also states that 75% of those surveyed think municipal/community broadband should be permitted to ensure that broadband access is treated like vital infrastructure such as highways, bridges, water systems and electrical grids, and thus make the service affordable to everyone.
When broken down by political party, a larger percentage of Democrats (85%) than independents (74%) and Republicans (63%) say municipal/community broadband should be allowed.
Other key findings from Consumer Reports’ most recent broadband survey include:
- 77% of those surveyed said they access the internet using a broadband service -- high-speed internet through a fixed cable or connection.
- 15% access the internet through their smartphones and 20% use DSL (digital subscriber line) or dial-up for access.
- 32% of those who do not have broadband say it’s because it costs too much.The median amount paid for broadband service nationwide is $70 per month (including taxes and fees).
- 25% who don’t have broadband say it’s not available where they live.
- A larger percentage of Blacks (32%) and Hispanics (33%) than whites (21%) say it’s ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ difficult to afford their monthly internet costs.
Help is on the way for families and students unable to afford high-speed internet, as the federal government begins to distribute more than $10 billion dollars in the American Rescue Plan Act for broadband and technology-related initiatives.
Meanwhile, the federal government launched a $3.2 billion program in May that provides subsidies to lower-income households to cover part of the cost of internet service. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission approved a rule recently setting guidelines for a program that will provide schools and libraries with $7 billion to help them purchase laptops, tablets and Wi-Fi hot spots.
Consumer Reports national survey of 2,565 adults nationwide was administered by the University of Chicago’s NORC research center. The survey sought to assess Americans’ access to broadband internet services and gauge their experiences with their service.
For more information about the survey click here.
Jean Dimeo is managing editor for Route Fifty.