Why buy the cow? Open Wi-Fi networks slow broadband adoption

A report by analyst firm Mintel released this week claims that “Wi-Fi pirating” could be a main reason for the slow growth of broadband adoption over recent years, reports ReadWriteWeb. According to Mintel, “home internet services saw revenues increase by only 3% over the past five years”, but surely internet use itself has been on the rise. The firm found that 72% say that they have internet access at home, but only 56% report subscribing to a service at home. Where does the discrepancy come from?

“Home internet penetration barely moved from 2006 to 2009. The slow growth in the era of Facebook, Pandora and YouTube shows that people are accessing the internet from home through different methods, even if they haven’t paid for access themselves,” said Billy Hulkower, a senior analyst at Mintel. “Younger consumers appear especially likely to use a neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal instead of subscribing at home as they are more likely to know how to find and connect to their neighbors’ service.”

Beyond these “young consumer”, guess who else appear most likely to steal Wi-Fi – those households bringing in more than $75,000 a year……Read More

FCC survey shows need to teach internet basics

Is the internet too dangerous for children?
46 percent of adults who don't have broadband access believe the internet is too dangerous for children.

The federal government’s plan to provide fast internet connections to all Americans will have to include some basic instruction in Web 101, a new survey reveals. According to the survey, nearly half of adults who don’t subscribe to broadband say the internet is too dangerous for children—a finding that suggests policy makers and educators face a steep challenge in convincing much of the public of the benefits of broadband access.

The Federal Communications Commission’s first-ever survey on internet usage and attitudes concludes that those who aren’t connected today need to be taught how to navigate the web, find online information that is valuable to them, and avoid hazards such as internet scams.

The study, released Feb. 23, comes less than a month before the FCC is due to hand Congress policy recommendations on how to make affordable, high-speed internet access a reality for everyone. The findings are certain to shape the policy recommendations in that plan, which was mandated by last year’s stimulus bill.…Read More