The adoption of high-speed internet service in homes has slowed to a crawl this year after a decade of rapid growth, reports the Associated Press—and it looks as if broadband is going to be a tough sell for those who don’t already have it. The Pew Internet & American Life Project said 66 percent of U.S. adults now use broadband at home, up from 63 percent last year. The difference is not statistically significant. Leichtman Research Group issued a separate report that said cable TV and phone companies added a net 336,000 broadband subscribers in the April-June period, fewer than in any quarter in the last nine years. Of the adults Pew surveyed, 53 percent said they didn’t believe the spreading of affordable broadband access should be a major government priority. That fits in with previous Pew surveys, which have shown that most people who don’t have internet service at home just aren’t interested in it, particularly if they’re over the age of 64. A minority don’t have it because it’s too expensive or not available at all. The Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband plan, released in March, found that 14 million to 24 million Americans do not have access to broadband. The plan, mandated by last year’s stimulus bill, lays out a roadmap for bringing high-speed connections to all Americans. FCC spokeswoman Jen Howard said the Pew report confirms there are still too many barriers to broadband adoption. The agency’s plan includes “digital literacy” initiatives to educate people about the ways that broadband can improve their lives. The Pew survey found one group that has signed up for broadband at a rapid pace in the past year: blacks. Last year, 46 percent of them used broadband at home. This year, the figure was 56 percent, meaning they’re closing the gap with Americans at large, but there’s still room for further gains…

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Maya Prabhu