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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 Chemical Chris on 7/4/2008 7:28:38 PM , Rating: 5
Agreed, in fact, the modem sound is one of the ways I have come to realize that I am getting old....kids today just dont know what it sounds like, or know the feeling of picking up the phone to be greeted with 'internet sounds' and the subsequent yelling from the computer room that you disconnected the net (fortunately, I was the older sibling, so I gave the beatdowns when this happened).
Lots of the kids at my parttime job (Im still a student) just give a perplexed look when asked if they recognize the sound, then ask if 56K was a breakfast cereal!
BRB, gotta go chase the kids off the lawn again....


RE: Yeah...
By Joz on 7/4/2008 11:05:47 PM , Rating: 2
this post was worth the gold my rolex is made from.


RE: Yeah...
By masher2 (blog) on 7/4/2008 11:26:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "Agreed, in fact, the modem sound is one of the ways I have come to realize that I am getting old..."

I realized I was getting old when I no longer saw any modems with the rubber cups for the phone headset.


RE: Yeah...
By Donkeyshins on 7/7/2008 2:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
Acoustic couplers...god, that brings back memories. Kind of like watching WarGames on TV last week - between the acoustic coupler modem, the TV being used as a monitor via RF converter and the dial pay phone that's hacked via jumpering the mouthpiece to the chassis of the phone I was feeling plenty old.


RE: Yeah...
By gaakf on 7/4/2008 11:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
you get a 6 in my book.


RE: Yeah...
By larson0699 on 7/5/2008 2:27:16 PM , Rating: 2
Old... I'm 22 and recall that sound like it was yesterday.

It was always great to go to a buddy's house and get online just to hear how ZyXel sounded versus my U.S. Robotics.

Toward the end of the tone made by my modem, it sounded like a computerized bell immediately echoing off into the distance, brief silence, then a shorter repeating (OOOOoooo.... OOoo..) and then BAM... Connected at 49333, 50666, 52000, 53333, or sometimes even 54666.

Modem sounds FTW. Don't cha wish digital was hot like me.


RE: Yeah...
By phaxmohdem on 7/6/2008 2:28:59 AM , Rating: 2
Well said. I was also the beatdown giver "back in the day" :) Allow me to shake your hand for that.

eerrrrrnnnnnnn EEEE errrr EEEE errrr SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE er er er blblblblblblbl EEEE!


RE: Yeah...
By PrinceGaz on 7/6/2008 6:28:57 PM , Rating: 2
One way you know you're getting really old is that you miss the sound of loading a computer-game... from audio cassette tape. Ah, the days of waiting five minutes listening (and watching) while a game loaded- you could even tell what type of data it was loading (code, screenshot etc) by how it sounded :)

These days, you don't even get to listen to a hard-drive moving its heads back-and-forth as they're almost silent, the most you get is a drive-activity light flickering a bit.


RE: Yeah...
By DeepBlue1975 on 7/6/2008 8:09:21 PM , Rating: 2
You just made me remember how playing games and loading programs on a cbm 64 was!
I remember having trouble with many programs and the way to make them work was to move the azimuth from the tape recorder with a phillips screwdriver. I did that so often that I ended up totaling my beloved general electric tape drive (that was among those that actually made the loading sound, the original datasettes from cbm were silent, at least the models I do remember).
Loading a 200 block program (with each block around 256 bytes) took more than 5 minutes there!

I remember the envy I felt for a friend who had a fast loader cartridge and a 1571 drive on his cbm 64, felt vertiginous compared to my datasette! :D


RE: Yeah...
By marvdmartian on 7/7/2008 10:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
I remember seeing someone in '81, with (what I believe I remember being) a TRASH80 (for you youngsters, that's a TRS-80, made by Tandy, sold at Radio Shack), loading his games with a cassette player (~30 minutes), playing it, then pretty much losing everything when he'd shut down the computer, since there was no hard drive to save to!

Personally, I learned computer basics on a timeshare connection, with the county's mainframe, via a telephone & modem (dial the telephone, wait for the screech, put the phone handset on the modem and log in). Even guys in their 20's & 30's laugh when I tell them that we had no monitor, just a combination keyboard/dot matrix printer stand. You'd type in each line of code, in BASIC, then have it print out once you were done. Make certain you didn't have a typo on any of your lines of code, then run the program to see if it would work. If it did, great! If not, go back to the drawing board and figure out where your flowchart was messed up.

Mouse? That's why they put down mousetraps! ;)

Insofar as dial-up goes, the only way I can see them getting people off of it, where broadband is offered/preferred, is to make it more expensive than broadband.......WAY more expensive! Otherwise, you'll continue having people like my old friend, Larry, who thinks it's great having NetZero, with it's $10 "high speed" dial-up.......all 28K speed that he gets from it!! **sigh**


RE: Yeah...
By Donkeyshins on 7/7/2008 2:07:23 PM , Rating: 2
Excuse me. I have to go dial into a BBS now. I remember one from when I was in college called 'Techno-Weenie Roast'. Good times.

That and Gopher and Bitnet (none of your fancy Internet tubes here).


RE: Yeah...
By Digimonkey on 7/7/2008 8:54:21 AM , Rating: 2
I always liked buying a new faster dialup modem for both the speed and to hear what kind of sound would emanate from it while it dialed up. I went through a 2400, 14.4, 28.8, 33.6, and 56k modem before switching to broadband. The most calming would of been the 2400, or 14.4 though. 56k's are kind of annoying with their "boings" and what not.


"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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