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Study shows many users wouldn't upgrade even if given the option

Comcast has run a national advertising campaign featuring two married turtles named the "Slowskys", who don't want to move into the faster world of cable internet, as they prefer a slower connection.  Surprisingly, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project shows that many Americans are much more like the Slowskys than one would think.

The new study indicates that a significant percent of Americans would not want to upgrade from broadband even if was offered for the same price as their dialup connection.

According to the survey 14 percent of Americans who don't have broadband say that they would purchase it, but that it's not available where they live.  Another 35 percent say that the price is too high for broadband.  And 39 percent gave "Other" as their reasoning.

However, the real surprise was that 19 percent said that "nothing" could persuade them to upgrade their slower connection -- not prices, not availability.

John Horrigan, the study's author commented, "That suggests that solving the supply problem where there are availability gaps is only going to go so far.  It's going to have to be a process of getting people more engaged with information technology and demonstrating to people it's worth it for them to make the investment of time and money."

The survey does illustrate a concern that some Americans want broadband but can't get it, denying them opportunities to work online or take classes online.  Of the rural Americans on dialup, 24 percent said they would upgrade if it was available in their area, whereas only 11 percent of suburban users in areas of non-availability and 3 percent of urban users would upgrade.

Vint Cerf, one of the internet's key inventors have been actively advocating greater government promotion of expansion of the internet.  He says that many don't realize what they're missing with dialup.  Further he says that in many areas one company has a monopoly on the high speed business, driving up prices.

Mr. Cerf added, "Some residential users may not see a need for higher speeds because they don't know about or don't have ability to use high speeds.  My enthusiasm for video conferencing improved dramatically when all family members had MacBook Pros with built-in video cameras, for example."

Pew found that 55 percent of Americans had broadband internet, up from 47 percent a year earlier, and 42 percent in March 2007.  Only 10 percent have dialup.  Other studies have shown that over 80 percent of Americans regularly use the internet -- some only use internet at work or school, though.

While broadband growth has been large, among minorities and lower income groups it has shown little traction.  Twenty percent of Americans without internet said they had it, but dropped it for financial reasons.

Thirty percent of those who didn't have internet said they don't want it.  Poor and elderly were mostly likely not to have internet.

The survey was connected between April 8 and May 11.  It surveyed 2,251 U.S. adults, including 1,553 internet users.  The main survey had a 2 percent margin of error, while subgroup analysis, had a 7 percent error margin.

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RE: Yeah...
By GDstew4 on 7/4/2008 6:18:35 PM , Rating: 2
There probably are people out there who are terrified of an "always on" internet connection. They think that someone is going to get into their computer while they are asleep at night and steal their identity. Or viruses are out there crawling through the internet tubes just waiting for a PC to infect.

My mother-in-law is still using her 450MHz Pentium 3 and Windows 98. She doesn't want to bother with upgrading because she has "better things to spend money on."

RE: Yeah...
By Grabo on 7/5/2008 9:52:31 AM , Rating: 2
My mother-in-law is still using her 450MHz Pentium 3 and Windows 98. She doesn't want to bother with upgrading because she has "better things to spend money on."

She probably does? It all depens on your point of view. If whatever works works, and you're not all that interested in it , then why change? Probably those who cling to dialup have a lot of superstitious arguments for doing so, but they're also likely to think 'if it ain't broke don't attempt to fix it'.

Still. It's hard to see how someone could consider dialup 'not broke', from any point of view. They can be a nightmare to get to work consistently, get to work again; and by the time you see a slightly darker than ultra-white cloud on the horizon your modem is probably already dead.

RE: Yeah...
By mindless1 on 7/6/2008 12:54:03 AM , Rating: 2
Huh? In all the years I had dialup before moving to broadband several years ago, I never had these problems you suppose to any significant degree. It was just painfully slow at a time when the internet was rapidly moving away from being mostly text.

I still keep a modem in one system, just in case I want to send or receive a fax by computer. If for some reason our broadband went down for what was known to be a lengthly period I'd start up a dialup plan without hesitation - that is, if I couldn't think of or wasn't in an area where there were other faster alternatives.

Mainly I think certain types of people just don't get into the whole browse-the-internet habit. It's a big country and lots of people out there just aren't like *US*. I'm just a little surprised that these people would have dialup at all if they didn't see an advantage to broadband at the same price. I think an early poster nailed it, they don't understand what "broadband" is, they are picking what they know versus some unknown thing that they aren't sure they can use - they don't realize broadband is (beyond minor quirks and practices like possibly setting up a router) actually much easier, even transparent in use.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
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