Homes are increasingly relying on mobile internet only

The United States has seen a sharp rise in families that exclusively rely on smartphones or mobile connections for home internet use. 

Statistics from a huge survey conducted by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration show that 20 percent of people with home internet rely on mobile only, with no wired connection. That number has doubled since 2013. 


However, the numbers reveal that most home internet users still rely on a wired connection. Seventy-five percent of homes that have internet service still rely on wired internet or a combination of wired internet and mobile service. But that number dropped 5 percent since 2013. 

Twenty-seven percent of homes still do not have any form of home internet. 

"In light of the advantages and limitations of mobile internet service, policymakers should consider the implications of this shift when crafting policies aimed at getting all Americans online," the agency's chief economist Giulia McHenry wrote in a blog post. 

Mobile connections on average are slower than wired connections. Most plans also come with monthly data caps far lower than wired internet plans. 

Mobile-only use has seen a rise in every demographic, but it has increased most sharply in low-income families making less than $25,000 a year. 

The numbers come as the Federal Communications Commission recently voted to extend small monthly subsidies to low-income families to help defray the cost of internet service. Those $9.25 per month subsidies can go toward wired internet service, a mobile data plan or some combination of internet and phone service. 

The numbers come from a 2015 survey that polled nearly 53,000 households.