Income and race seen holding back California’s broadband adoption rates

In Daily News Briefs by Wireless Estimator

In California, income and race are key factors contributing to low broadband adoption rates, according to a study released this month by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Their analysis found that income is the most critical factor affecting adoption where only 52.9% of households in census tracts where the median annual household income levels are less than $20,000 have in-home broadband access, compared to 85.7% of households in census tracts with a median annual household income at $80,000 or more. F

The report, available here, said that the Pew Research Center cites that price is the major reason households do not have broadband service. Based on their findings, of the Californians who have not adopted broadband at home, 69% cite cost as a factor and 34% say it’s the main reason. Figure 2 below depicts how broadband adoption rates vary by income.

Urban and rural designations also have a significant impact on adoption rates, according to the analysis.. Three quarters of urban census tracts had broadband, compared to only 40 percent of rural areas.

Race and ethnicity was also observed to be a significant factor affecting broadband adoption. Their analysis found that White and Asian households have higher adoption rates at 69.1% and 80.4% respectively, while Black/African American and Latino households have adoption rates at 57.5% and 60.8% respectively.