31% of Americans Don’t Have Internet

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It’s not every day that a government agency releases a study that will blow your mind. But recently, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) did just that.

Earlier this week, the NTIA revealed in a shocking report that 31% of Americans still don’t use the Internet, either at home or at work. These numbers are based on a comprehensive survey of 54,000 households across the country. I would launch into a tirade here about the many reasons the Internet is worthwhile, but since we are an online publication, I’d just be preaching to the choir.

What’s more interesting are the reasons why these Americans still don’t use the Internet. According to the NTIA, the most common explanations offered were that people didn’t have a good enough computer (or any computer at all) or just had “no need” for the Internet. Another big factor, mostly in rural areas, is whether a household has access to broadband, rather than just dial-up Internet.

However, there is reason to be hopeful even as some Americans continue to live in the dark ages. Ars Technica notes that these numbers are an improvement from previous years and demonstrate the Internet’s gradual reach to every household. In 2007, 37% of Americans confessed to never using the Internet. On top of that, two-thirds of Americans now have broadband access compared to just half in 2007.

If anything, this report is a strong argument in favor of Google’s (Stock Quote: GOOG) recent initiative to provide fast broadband to scattered communities in order to pressure the nation’s other broadband providers to do better. Hurry, Google, there are millions of Americans who probably still don’t know what YouTube is! And that’s a tragedy.

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