Peak Cable looms: One in five US homes now mobile-only for internet

Cord-cutting has doubled since 2013

Woman frustrated while trying to make mobile phone call... Photo via Shutterstock

The number of American households relying solely on mobile networks for internet access has doubled over the past two years.

This is according to Uncle Sam's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who says that its 2015 internet usage numbers show that 20 per cent households use mobile networks without any wired connection for their internet access. By comparison, 2013's study showed 10 per cent of homes were mobile-only.

Meanwhile, the number of satellite connections dropped slightly from 3 per cent to 2 per cent, and the "other combinations" category slipped from 5 per cent to 2 per cent.

Wired connections, meanwhile, are still in the majority but are falling. From 2013 to 2015 wired (with or without mobile) homes went from 82 per cent to 75 per cent.

NTIA chart on home internet use

NTIA figures on home internet use 2013-2015

Those numbers back up the contention that more and more Americans are opting to cut the cord with their home connections and dump cable or DSL providers in favor of mobile plans. They also fall in line with the saturation of handsets and tablets, while desktop PCs and notebooks suffer plummeting sales.

"Americans’ rapid move toward mobile Internet service appears to be coming at the expense of home broadband connections," wrote Giulia McHenry, chief economist for the NTIA's office of policy analysis and development.

"At the same time, many Americans are using a wider range of computing devices in their daily lives."

The jump was particularly strong with poorer households. Around 29 per cent of homes earning under $25K annually rely solely on mobile data, and 24 per cent of those in the $25-$50K bracket have abandoned their wired connections. Compare that to 2013's findings that 16 per cent of the under-$25K bracket and 12 per cent of the $25-50K bracket were mobile only. ®

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