Up to 10 percent of US homes lack basic broadband

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The Independent Tech

Up to 10 percent of US households lack access to broadband Internet at speeds that allow for the downloading of Web pages, photos and video, according to a report released on Thursday.

The finding was included in a National Broadband Map from the Commerce Department showing broadband availability in the United States.

"The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy," said Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Five percent to 10 percent of Americans, mostly in rural areas, lack access to basic broadband.

At the same time, high-speed broadband Internet adoption has increased to 68 percent of US households, up from 63.5 percent in 2009.

"We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains," Strickling said.

Seventy percent of urban households and 60 percent of rural households accessed broadband Internet service last year.

"Overall, the two most commonly cited main reasons for not having broadband Internet access at home are that it is perceived as not needed (46 percent) or too expensive (25 percent)," the NTIA said in a statement.

"In rural America, however, lack of broadband availability is a larger reason for non-adoption than in urban areas (9.4 percent vs. one percent)," it said.

The National Broadband Map, located at broadbandmap.gov, offers information on where broadband Internet service is available, the technology used, maximum advertised speeds and the names of service providers.

US President Barack Obama has pledged to offer high-speed wireless Internet coverage to 98 percent of Americans.