Mobile phones aren't just the only way many Americans now make and take calls. For nearly one in five Americans, smartphones are also the primary or only way tool they have for accessing the internet, reports a new Pew Research Study. How come? Because there isn't "any other form of high–speed Internet access at home" or because of a "limited number of ways to get online other than their cellphone."
All that would be OK, if the financial consequences of that dependence weren't throwing a monkey wrench into the works. 13 percent of Americans with an annual household income of less than $30,000 per year are "smartphone dependent" – compared with just one percent of households earning more than $75,000. And in that lower income group, about 48 percent of the smartphone dependents have had to cancel or suspend mobile service due to financial stresses. Also a factor – 51 percent max out the phone's data limit, on occasion.
There's an unspoken moral here: the cause of "Internet Access for All" espoused by the White House and though low-cost cable services like Comcast's "Internet Essentials" ought to be expanded. The latter is available to families with school-age children who qualify for a free or subsidized lunch. But for lots of other Americans, the choice often boils down to phone and internet access OR lunch.