Demand for high-speed Internet access growing

Monday, June 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ Consumers' appetite for high-speed Internet access and the online activities associated with it is growing, recent surveys show.

Roughly 24 million Americans, or 21 percent of all Web users, now have high-speed connections at home, an increase of more than a quarter since the start of the year, and quadruple the number of broadband users just two years ago, according to a survey conducted last month by Pew Internet and American Life Project.

``This places broadband adoption rates on par with the adoption of other popular technologies, such as the personal computer and the compact disc player, and faster than color TV and the VCR,'' said researchers for Pew, a nonprofit initiative of the Pew Research Center for People and the Press.

Nearly six in 10 broadband users have generated their own online content such as a personal Web page, posted information to a Web site or shared music and other types of files online, according to a survey of 507 adults with high-speed service conducted in January and February. About a quarter of them perform such activities on a typical day.

About 63 percent have downloaded games, video or pictures at least once, and 50 percent have downloaded music files, Pew said. About 43 percent have displayed or developed photos online.

``Broadband users spend more time online, do more things, and do them more often than dial-up Internet users,'' the Pew report said.

Pew said, the extra time spent online comes at the expense of other activities such as watching television and shopping. Thirty-seven percent said their Internet use has cut down on TV time, 31 percent said it has decreased time spent in stores, and 18 percent said it has reduced their newspaper reading.

The dominant mode of high-speed access was through cable TV modems at 71 percent, followed by DSL telephone lines at 27 percent, while 2 percent were using satellite or wireless broadband services.

High-speed connections also appear to be enabling more work to be done at home, with about a third of the survey's respondents saying they ``telecommute'' at one time or another.

Pew said the margin of error for its broadband user survey was plus or minus four percentage points.