The American appetite for high-speed Internet hasn't been stalled by the recession.
Among U.S. consumers surveyed, 63 percent now have broadband access at home, up from 55 percent a year ago. The study, released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, found that home broadband adoption has bounced back from 2008's relative period of stagnation.
High-speed access has risen among a wide spectrum of groups by age and income. Usage among people 65 years and older grew to 30 percent in April 2009, versus 19 percent in May 2008. For people aged 50 to 64 years, usage jumped to 61 percent this year from 50 percent in 2008.
Among consumers with incomes of $20,000 or less, 35 percent have broadband compared with 25 percent last year. For people in rural areas, high-speed access climbed to 46 percent in April from 38 percent last year.
Internet access was seen by those surveyed as a vital tool for finding information. About 68 percent said the Internet is a "very important" way to stay updated about their community. To trim expenses, more than twice as many people said they had cut back or dropped a cell phone or cable TV plan than said they had canceled their Internet access.
Only 7 percent of the people surveyed said they still use a dial-up connection at home, half the level it had been two years ago. Among those people, 32 percent said the price would have to fall for them to consider moving to broadband, while 17 percent said it would have to become available in their area.
The Pew Internet Project is a nonprofit group that analyzes the effect of the Internet on children, families, communities, the workplace, schools, health care and civic/political life. The survey results were based on interviews with 2,253 U.S. consumers.