Work-at-Home is Part of Emerging Lifestyle in "The Broadband Difference"

In the two years since The Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted their last census study of Internet usage in the home, broadband connections has grown fourfold to now exceed dial-up.

According to Pew estimates, broadband usage has increased 300 percent in the past two years. As of May 2002, about 24 million (or 21 percent of all Internet users) have broadband in the home, up from 6 million in 2000, according to Pew estimates. In their February 2002 survey of broadband users, 71% said they have cable modems, 27% use DSL, and 2% use satellite or fixed wireless.

"The Broadband Difference", The Pew Internet & American Life Project's survey of broadband internet users, shows that broadband users spend more time online, do more things, and do them more often than dial-up internet users.The impact of Broadband's 'always-on' connection reveals changes in people's behavior in the areas of communication, information researching, work-related tasks, and online banking and shopping. "The Internet is now a 'go-to' tool for a variety of functions - - everything from online bill-paying, sharing files with co-workers or getting news," the report said.

When asked what they spend the most time doing online, the vast majority of broadband users (68 percent) say they spend more time online doing information searches because of the convenience of high-speed connections. Those surveyed reported that searches for information and use of email far outpace other activities.

Such connections also help bring the work place into the home. One third of the survey participants reported they do more work related tasks at home since they obtained broadband. Another third (8 million) identify themselves as telecommuters, with one million doing so several times a week, according to the Pew research. 60% of the telecommuters said having high-speed Internet access means they are telecommuting more often.

On a given day, 64% of telecommuters say they use the broadband service for job-related research, compared to 23% of other broadband users. The same number says the Internet has improved their ability to do their job "a lot" versus 20% of other broadband users.

The research concludes that there is a noticeable "broadband lifestyle" emerging coinciding with residential adoption of high-speed connections. The survey reveals more activities are being transferred to the Internet, as well as a shift in how people allocate their time once they get used to having broadband. Broadband users say they are spending more time reading news online (46%), as well as banking and bill paying (22%), download videos or games (22%), watch a video clip on any given day (21%), in addition to emailing and information researching. "Members of the broadband arena do many of these activities simultaneously. They could be instant messaging friends or work colleagues, listening to a favorite internet radio station, booking an airline ticket and scanning online news sites -- all at the same time," the study said.

Conversely, broadband users are spending less time on activities like watching television, shopping in stores, spending time in traffic or reading newspapers. About 3 in 8 (37 percent) of broadband users cut back on watching television, with about one third spending less time shopping in stores, and 31% spending less time in traffic because of increased telecommuting.

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