Some 93 million Americans, one-third of the US population, do not have high-speed Internet connections at home, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
The National Broadband Plan Consumer Survey by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) found that 78 percent of adult Americans are Internet users, connecting to the Web from home or elsewhere.
Eighty million adults and 13 million children over the age of five do not have home broadband, according to the survey of over 5,000 adult Americans conducted in October and November.
Six percent of adult Americans are still using dial-up connections.
The survey was conducted ahead of the National Broadband Plan which the FCC is to deliver to the US Congress by March 17 outlining how to extend affordable world-class broadband service to the entire United States.
"We need to tackle the challenge of connecting 93 million Americans to our broadband future," FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement.
"In the 21st century, a digital divide is an opportunity divide," he said.
"To bolster American competitiveness abroad and create the jobs of the future here at home, we need to make sure that all Americans have the skills and means to fully participate in the digital economy."
The survey identified affordability, digital literacy and relevance as the three main barriers to wider adoption of broadband.
Thirty-six percent of non-broadband adopters, or 28 million adults, said they do not have home broadband because the monthly fee is too expensive. On average, Americans pay 41 dollars a month for broadband service.
Twenty-two percent, or 17 million adults, do not have home broadband because they lack the digital skills while 19 percent, or 15 million adults, said they do not have home broadband because the Internet is not relevant to their lives.
Some 40 percent of low-income Americans, those with annual household incomes of 20,000 dollars or less, have home broadband, compared with 91 percent of those in homes earning more than 75,000 dollars a year.
Senior citizens trailed the national average with just 35 percent of those over the age of 65 reporting broadband service at home.
In other findings, 56 percent said there is too much pornography and offensive material online while 39 percent said it is too easy for personal information to be stolen.
Besides Internet use, the survey also found that 86 percent of Americans have a cellphone, 86 percent have either cable or satellite television at home and 79 percent have either a desktop or a laptop computer at home.
"The gap in broadband adoption is a problem with many different dimensions that will require many different solutions," said John Horrigan, director of consumer research for the Omnibus Broadband Initiative.
"Lowering costs of service or hardware, helping people develop online skills, and informing them about applications relevant to their lives are all key to sustainable adoption," Horrigan said.
The Consumer Survey interviewed 5,005 adult Americans and has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 percentage points.Reuse content