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Pew: Home Broadband Still Rules for Key Tasks

Smart phone broadband use is on the rise, but the go-to service for video and doing key online tasks remains in the home.

At 67% of Americans, home broadband adoption in 2015 is down slightly from 70% in 2013 while those who say they are smart phone only for broadband has increased to 13% from 8% in 2013, particularly among African Americans and those with relatively low household incomes.

That is according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

So, on balance, "advanced Internet access" has changed little, with 80% of adults having either phone or home broadband access now compared to 78% in 2013.

“If they have both kinds of access, most people prefer to use their smartphone for getting in touch with family or friends but prefer a device that uses a home broadband connection for watching video," said John Horrigan, a senior researcher at Pew Research Center, in releasing the study. He also said smart phone-only broadband users sometimes have  a hard time doing some of the things they want to do, like applying for a job.

In fact, two-thirds of the respondents said that not having a home high-speed connection would be a major disadvantage to getting a job, health information or other "key" info, up from 56% who said that in a 2010 survey.

The study found that 15% of those polled were cord-cutters, while 9% were cord-nevers. Over two-thirds of those who had cut the cord cited the cost of cable and satellite service as part of the reason. Other factors were using an over-the-air antenna and streaming services.

Of the 33% of Americans who have never had home high-speed Internet, 36% were cord-cutters and 59% never had it. Only 25% said they had an interest in subscribing—or re-subscribing—in the future.

The study was based on a phone survey of 2,001 adults 18 and older. The margin of error for the overall survey was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.