This report from the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration provides updated data on internet and broadband access among Americans.

Data from October 2010 shows that more than 68% of U.S. households use high-speed broadband services.   Yet significant gaps in internet usage still exist among certain demographic and geographic groups around the country.  People with college degrees adopt broadband at almost triple the rate of those with some high school education (84% versus 30%), among adults 25 years and older. The rates for Whites (68%) and Asian non-Hispanics (69%) exceed those for Black non-Hispanics (50%) and Hispanics (45%) by 18 percentage points or more. Rural America lags behind urban areas by ten percentage points (60% versus 70%).  Only 37% percent of persons with disabilities use broadband at home.  Major differences in broadband use existed among the various states. An estimated 79.7% of households in Utah had broadband access, compared with 51.7% of households in Mississippi.

Overall, the two most frequently cited reasons for not having broadband Internet access at home were “don’t need/not interested” in it (46%) or “too expensive” (25%). “No/inadequate computer” (14%) ranked third.

Having access to the internet will become increasingly important for patients and health care consumers as electronic health records, personal health records, and health information exchanges become adopted in the coming years.

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