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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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By Screwballl on 7/4/2008 6:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
I work for an ISP that has dialup, DSL and cable options (contracts through other companies) across North America. The biggest thing we hear why people do NOT want to upgrade is mostly they only use it 2-3 times per week for maybe an hour or so and have no desire for anything faster. There is a decent percentage that hear of all the viruses and hackers and they think that as soon as they get high speed they will lose control of their computer. Even though we try to explain that with a decent anti-virus program the virus issue is minimalized and they are just as likely to pick viruses up on dialup... and as for hackers, they tend to go after commercial targets so home users are not a likely target.
Even then people still prefer their dialup.

Someone mentioned Hughesnet... would you want to pay $75-100 per month for a 128-256K (actual speed) connection? Some people do but most are happy with their 2-3 times per week checking email and seeing a few websites per week.

By TSS on 7/4/2008 7:06:17 PM , Rating: 1
maybe it's because they've become attached to their dialup. i'm sure those who do switch will miss the dial in sound the first week orso, before getting used to the silence.

about the same reason why i've got a friend who'd buy AMD's because he wanted maximum performance. which was at the peak of the core 2 duo pwnage, where athlon prices hadn't dropped yet so intel was both cheaper and faster. he just "didn't trust intel". maybe these people just dont trust broadband.

it might not be all that bad though. i mean, picture some quiet farmer somewhere in the middle of the nowhere on dialup suddenly getting broadband. and within a week he runs across youtube. might be pretty shocking to him :P

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