American's obsession with the Internet is starting to challenge that of TV, suggests new findings issued Thursday from the Pew Research Center.

While there still aren't more computers in households than toilets – a claim TV makers have long maintained – the Pew researchers say nearly nine in ten Americans today are online, up from about half in the early 2000s (Pew has been tracking the trend for 15 years.) No wonder TV ratings have been falling!

Nearly three quarters of Americans (73%) had broadband service at home as of November 2016 – for web surfing and TV viewing – up significantly from 67% in the prior year (when the numbers had drooped a bit.) Time to buy Comcast stock?

More than three quarters of Americans (77%) own a smartphone. No news, smartphone use among younger adults is nearly ubiquitous, as 92% of 18-29 year olds now own and rely on one. More compelling are the significant "upticks" in smartphone ownership that Pew found among lower income Americans and those ages 50 and older. In households earning less than $30,000, almost 64% make smartphone ownership a priority. Nearly three quarters (74%) of Americans ages 50-64 are now toting a smart phone – a 16 point increase over the prior year – and 42% of those 65 and older are doing likewise (up from 30 % in 2015).

A smaller rise was also noted by researchers in smartphone dependency – defined by Pew researchers as online internet users who only get to the web on a smart phone, as they are lacking traditional broadband service. 12 percent of Americans currently fit that dependency description, up 4 percentage points since 2013. Young adults, non-whites and those with relatively low household incomes are most prevalent in this group, at present. But with the near-future surge of 5G mobile phone services, running 30-50 times faster than 4G and rivaling the best broadband speeds that FiOS and Comcast Xfinity are now starting to deliver, the mobile-only customer base is likely to broaden in numbers and makeup. Or so argued industry pundits at last week's CES tech show.

Time to buy mobile telco stock?