Data Wonk-ings #3: New information on cell phone adoption and landline cord cutting

By Jim Fong posted 08-18-2014 12:17 PM

As the Internet is getting "faster" and cell signals have supposedly improved, our demand often creates logjams and clutter in both the cellular and Internet pipelines.  In 2006, I did a presentation on technology and reported that I had an Internet speed of 800 Kps.  Today, I am supposed to have in upwards of 30 Mbs. However, as a digital society, we've added more users and these users have been transmitting more data (see Netflix growth) at a higher rate.  As a result, I may not be receiving that much better of an experience as I had in 2006.

As a result of the digital logjams, Netflix, Verizon, Time Warner and Comcast have pushed the net neutrality issue, which for now, has been put on the horizon for future discussion and legislation. For many of these players, changes to open Internet access would result in a pay-for-speed and priority which would impact how adult learners access content and the quality they receive as a result.

A further twist is the abandonment of the landline.  The Pew Center reports that two-in-five households now are cell phone only.  This is significant, as we know that Internet speeds and reliability are reduced in a cellular setting.  The article also shows that "cord cutting" is also more prevalent among younger and lower income populations. What is not known is whether the household has abandoned cable access or high speed Internet access.  If they have, in addition to cutting their landline, then the impact to the future adult learner is significant.  This is especially true if the learner relies solely on the cell signal for all content.