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Recent News // News Release: Connect Puerto Rico Releases 2012 Residential Technology Assessment

Monday, September 10, 2012

65% of Puerto Rico residents still do not have broadband at home

Access the findings

San Juan, PR – Connect Puerto Rico released today the results of the 2012 residential technology assessment, which indicate that 65% of Puerto Rico adults do not subscribe to broadband service. These results reveal a continuing acute digital gap in Puerto Rico relative to the rest of the US, where, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, approximately 34% of adults do not subscribe.  

This technology assessment follows from a similar study conducted by Connect Puerto Rico in 2010 and analyzes broadband adoption and usage patterns across Puerto Rico.  The study aims to better understand who is adopting broadband service and how broadband users are leveraging the technology to benefit their lives.  The study also examines demographics and purchasing decisions of Puerto Ricans who still do not use this empowering technology.  These data are essential to develop effective solutions to help bridge the digital divide across Puerto Rico. 

 The study reveals that:

  • An estimated 65% of Puerto Rico adults do not subscribe to broadband service at home.  While this indicates a remaining acute digital lag relative to the US mainland, home broadband adoption in Puerto Rico has increased from 31% in 2010 to 35% in 2012.  By contrast, during this period, home broadband adoption across the USA has remained constant.
  • The broadband adoption gap is particularly acute among certain key demographic groups:
    • 87% of seniors;
    • 81% of low-income households; and
    • 77% of low-income households with children do not subscribe to home broadband service and are without access to this essential tool.
  • Further, an analysis of technology ownership and usage across Puerto Rico reveals surprising insights:
    • 90% of Puerto Ricans own a cell phone, and 41% report subscribing to a cell phone plan that allows Internet access;
    • Computer ownership across Puerto Rico households in 2012 is estimated at 60%, up from 55% in 2010;
    • The main barrier to broadband adoption in Puerto Rico is relevancy – 23% of non-adopters report that the main reason that they don’t subscribe to home broadband service is because there is nothing on the Internet that they want to see or use;
    • Affordability of the service is the second largest barrier to broadband adoption - 21% of non-adopters report the monthly cost of service as the main barrier to subscription;
    • Education is a key driver for broadband adoption - The main reason Puerto Ricans say they started subscribing to broadband is because someone in the home needed it for school;
    • Home broadband subscribers report paying on average $47.30 per month for home broadband services, up from $42.40 in 2010; and
    • Average advertised speeds reported by broadband subscribers in 2012 is 4.5 Mbps, up from 3.3 Mbps in 2010.

Connect Puerto Rico has also conducted extensive research to better understand the purchasing decisions and demographics of broadband non-adopters across the island.  Survey results show that:

  • Nearly one-third of Puerto Rico’s non-adopters (32%) are price sensitive. By contrast, 59% of non-adopters report that they would not subscribe to broadband even if it were offered at a price they deemed acceptable, indicating that factors other than price, including relevance and lack of digital skills, are limiting their broadband purchasing decision. 
  • For programs seeking to specifically target non-adopters who are price sensitive across the island, Connect Puerto Rico estimates an optimal target entry service price of $26 per month for home broadband service.

This new data comes on the heels of the Puerto Rico Broadband Taskforce’s release of the Broadband Strategic Plan in May of this year. The plan was designed to formulate a series of recommendations for achieving a twenty-first century infrastructure in Puerto Rico while diversifying workforce options, increasing access to healthcare, and boosting technology deployment in the classroom.

Data for Connect Puerto Rico’s 2012 residential technology assessment were collected through telephone interviews using random digit dial (RDD) survey of households conducted between February and April, 2012.  Connect Puerto Rico surveyed 1,200 heads of households across the island.  In addition, Connect Puerto Rico surveyed a total of 2,400 adult heads of households who do not subscribe to home broadband service.  Data for both surveys were collected by Estudios Técnicos in San Juan, PR. 

Download the Press Release

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About the Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force (PBTF): The Puerto Rico Broadband Task Force was established to examine the challenges and access the possibilities for promoting broadband access and adoption across the island. The primary goal of the PRBT has been to design and facilitate the implementation of a pragmatic and actionable Broadband Strategic Plan that effectively minimizes the digital divide by promoting adoption of broadband and Information Technology (IT) and stimulating investment opportunities in ever- increasing broadband capacity infrastructure in Puerto Rico.

About Connect Puerto Rico: Connect Puerto Rico was commissioned by the Puerto Rico Office of the Chief Information Officer to work with each of the commonwealth’s broadband providers to create detailed maps of broadband coverage and to assess the current state of broadband adoption, community-by-community, across Puerto Rico. Connect Puerto Rico will continue to develop and update the broadband data over time, ensuring that territory policymakers and citizens alike are equipped with this important information. Connect Puerto Rico’s efforts are funded by the United State Department of Commerce’s State Broadband Initiative grant program through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. 

The assessment was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant program, funded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The SBI grant program was created by the Broadband Data Improvement Act, unanimously passed by Congress in 2008 and funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. To learn more about Connect Puerto Rico please visit www.connectpr.org or e-mail us at info@connectpr.org.

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