"A survey by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation ranked the U.S. 15th on household broadband penetration, having slipped from fourth place in 2001, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development. (Denmark ranked No. 1.)
In a Dec. 6 speech, Obama called the current state of U.S. broadband access "unacceptable" and said plans to "renew our Information Superhighway" would be a priority of his Administration. To deliver, Obama will need to address the wide swaths of the U.S. that remain unconnected. In some places-most of them rural areas with low population density-people who are willing to pay for service can't get it because telecom providers can't justify the necessary investment.
In the case of the urban poor, service may be readily available, but many families can't afford the $30 to $50 it costs each month to get broadband. Many also lack computers at home. Among households with an annual income of $50,000 or less-about half the country-only 35% have broadband service, according to Free Press, a technology advocacy group. Households with annual incomes above $50,000 are more than twice as likely to have broadband service. "