Three in four households without home internet would not pay for it or would only use it if it were free, according to a study conducted by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
About 24 million U.S. households do not use the internet at home.
The mean price that offline households wanted to pay was approximately $10 per month.
Households Without Home Internet
How much offline households were willing to pay varied based on the main reason cited for non-use, as an NTIA policy specialist and an NTIA senior policy advisor noted in a blog post.
According to the blog post, households citing expense as their main reason for not using the internet at home were more willing to pay some amount for service. The mean amount that the group was willing to pay per month was $16. Just over half (54%) of that group would only subscribe if the service were free.
Among households that said they didn’t subscribe because they didn’t need or have any interest in home internet, 83% said they would only subscribe if the service was free. The mean monthly price that the group was willing to pay was $6.
Federal broadband funding made available over the last couple of years is aimed at three key areas, including broadband availability, adoption, and affordability.
For example, the Affordable Connectivity Program pays $30 a month toward the cost of broadband for low-income households, and numerous service providers offer low-income plans priced at $30 so that service is essentially available for free to those households.
Adoption programs aim to improve digital literacy so that people know how to use the internet and the benefits it can offer. In highlighting digital adoption programs, the blog post authors note another interesting finding from the research about households without home internet.
“[O]ffline households in the ‘no need/interest’ group still have significantly lower family incomes than their home internet-using counterparts, suggesting that cost may be an additional challenge for many even after overcoming other barriers,” the authors wrote.
The upshot, according to the blog post, is that programs like the Digital Equity Act and the Affordable Connectivity Program are vital for households and communities.