As the Internet becomes more accessible, usage grows quickly

For a lot of people, it’s hard to imagine present-day life without internet access. Currently, there are 287 million internet users in the United States, making it the third largest national internet market in the world. While a digital divide has existed among different age groups and races, these gaps have been shrinking as internet get more readily available and, in turn, more essential.

“Across the industry, customer demand is growing about 43 percent in the downstream,” said TDS’ Wade Holmes, director of Technology and Engineering.

For many Americans, internet is at their fingertips at all times– as 70 percent of mobile phone users access the internet with their device. That number is only expected to climb. Mobile phones have made internet usage commonplace, as many users can log-on any time, any place.

With the internet becoming more and more accessible, people are increasingly reliant on staying connected, primarily through social media. Facebook, the most popular social media platform, attracts an average of 156 million unique visitors per month.

In addition to staying connected, users want to be entertained. Netflix hit almost 51 million US subscribers earlier this year. Among broadband households, 49 percent subscribe to Netflix. This reflects a changing television industry, as half of US broadband households watch internet video on their TVs. There are 155 million Americans who play video games regularly, or more than three times per week.

Nationally, men and women spend about the same amount of time on the internet, but an increase in usage does correlate with an increase in education and income.

Adults ages 18 to 29 are have the highest usage rate, with 99 percent of adults in this range using the internet. Adults over the age of 65 are the least likely to use the internet, with 64 percent internet users.  Although this age group has the lowest usage, it’s catching up steadily. This group had the highest rate of change of internet users since 2000.

Following is data on internet usage by state, based on data from 2012 United States Census Bureau.

Approximately 90 percent of Colorado’s population uses the internet. Its average peak internet speed is 48 Mbps.
Population: 5,457,000
Internet users: 4,885,000
Percent users: 90

About 88 percent of Nevada’s population uses the internet. Its average peak speed is 49 Mbps.
Population: 2,891,000
Internet users: 2,547,000
Percent users: 88

New Mexico:  
Population: 2,085,000
Internet users: 1,989,000
Percent users: 95
Average peak internet speed: 36 Mbps

Population: 4,029,000
Internet users: 3,723,000
Percent users: 93
Average peak internet speed: 54 Mbps

Population: 27,470,000
Internet users: 24,427,000
Percent users: 89
Average peak internet speed: 49 Mbps


Population: 2,996,000
Internet users: 2,657,000
Percent users: 89
Average peak internet speed: 60 Mbps

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