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U.S. Internet Growth Stalling 318

abb_road writes "Internet usage is predicted to grow by only 1% in 2006, with uptake slowing even more in subsequent years. The article examines causes for the slowdown, including individuals who are actively choosing to not be online. These non-users cite a number of reasons for their decision, including cost and increased productivity. Is this simply a combination of luddites and a statistical quirk, or is the Internet reaching its saturation point in the U.S.?"
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U.S. Internet Growth Stalling

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  • Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheOzz ( 888649 ) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:33PM (#14926015) Homepage
    From the article, "Goodwin knows how easy it is for Big Brother to gain access to personal information." This one reason for not using the Internet is a perfect example of pure ignorance in regards to privacy. I bet this person has no problem handing a credit card to the waitress, gas station attendant, or retail clerk. How do these oh so careful people combat a waitress, gas station attendant, or retail clear from making note of the credit card number, three digit security code on the back, and expiration date and then selling it to a friend or using it themselves?
    • Re:Privacy (Score:2, Insightful)

      by zoloto ( 586738 ) *
      There is the assumption that they use credit cards at all. Some people who fit snugly into your statement wouldn't use a credit card for dining out, or even the gas station. Some of us simply won't trust the internet or the random-crap-shoot of an employee this week at the local 7-11 for gas with our cc's until a decent system is in place.
    • Re:Privacy (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vux984 ( 928602 )
      Well, for starters. Your entire argument makes no sense. How does a waitress stealing your card number equal "Big Brother gaining access to personal information" ??

      "Big Brother" is the government, and occasionally overly powerful large corporations.

      He is likely worried about the government reading his email, monitoring his internet searches, the sites he visists, the instant messages he sends.

      He is likely aware that they can still tap his phone, monitor his library usage, and follow him around to see who he
  • Well... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    there's only so much porn you can watch....
    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      > there's only so much porn you can watch....
      Actually, I think you're spot on.

      Taking my sister-in-law as being typical, what does she do with the internet?
      1) Forward shit that snopes has already flagged as being an urban legend
      2) Forward crass jokes
      3) IM her kids
      4) Maybe read some news
      5) Download/Stream Music

      That's it. #4 seems reasonable. #3 isn't too bad, although a phone would really be useful.

      To most Americans, the Internet is just another drug - another way for the average Joe to get his jollies
    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:34PM (#14926587) Homepage
      there's only so much porn you can watch....

      This is not far from the point. The Internet was designed to serve the university research community. It is hardly unexpected if less than 100% of US households are interested in the result.

      The 'slow' rate of growth is entirely expected. The telephone system grew rapidly in the 30s through the 60s then 'growth' hit a wall and the increase in the number of subscribers was almost entirely due to old non subscribers passing away and a near 100% uptake rate amongst people in their 20s.

      If you look at the figures the number of non Internet households is only 34%. The number of non-subscribers is only 29%. Multiply the two figures together and the proportion of the population that has not adopted the net that is most likely to is only 10%. 1% growth per year is about what you would expect at that point - and it is going to be comming almost entirely from the aging effect.

      This has been the case for several years now.

      The other effect that is not mentioned here is the number of people who have broadband at work but don't want to pay for or cannot get broadband at home. If I could not get broadband at home I would really not want to pay for dialup. I would probably go to Panera to surf instead.

    • Re:Well... (Score:2, Funny)

      by jrmiller84 ( 927224 )
      Lies! All lies...
  • other reasons . . . (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tubbtubb ( 781286 ) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:33PM (#14926018)
    I'm sure spam, phishing scams, and annoying ads also play a role in the barrier for growth.
    There's also my personal reason (for not getting online AS MUCH anyway) -- I sit at a computer
    all day at work, why would I want to do more of that in my spare time?
    • I sit at a computer all day at work, why would I want to do more of that in my spare time?

      Yeah, plus you already read slashdot while you were at work!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I would add blogs to that list. It's becoming increasingly difficult to find things of value on the Internet. When I'm looking for information on a particular subject, I don't want to have to look through pages and pages of little Billies take on the subject. Lately, I've been begging for a search engine that filters out blogs completely. The amount of garbage on the Internet is becoming a serious problem, especially for the average user.

      I don't see why most bloggers don't simply give out user names
      • The blogs that bother you typically want to be indexed. They like it when you get sidetracked into their horrid cul-de-sac. Hopefully you click on an ad. Failing that, you bumped their pagecount and they can dream you are hanging on their every word.

        They'll go out of their way to force search engines to index them. And this isn't even counting the spamhorde robo-blogs, which are an even lower lifeform.

        I wish there was an easy way to segregate them, but I don't know if this would be possible.

    • by pebs ( 654334 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:54PM (#14926224) Homepage
      I sit at a computer all day at work, why would I want to do more of that in my spare time?

      I hear this idea a lot. But I don't get it, at least not for someone who is a computer enthusiast. Yes, I spend all day at work on the computer, but not all that time is very much fun. In my spare time, I like to use computers for all those fun or useful activities that I couldn't use it at work for because I was too busy WORKING. Granted, I do a wide variety of other activities in my free time, but some of it goes to using computers (which includes programming and other activities that are essentially forms of work). Maybe my job is just getting boring and I don't get to create all the things I want to, so I have to spend my free time to do the things I want to do.
  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:35PM (#14926036)
    I find it is eating into my TV time.
  • by bj8rn ( 583532 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:35PM (#14926037)
    Or is it still possible to live without using the Internet? I would certainly think so. Unfortunately, I don't think there's any turning back for me (or any other Slashdotter, for that matter). I can only change my Internet usage habits, but I can't stop using it.
    • It's certainly going to get harder. I live in New Jersey, and own a business. Every year I have to file a report with the state, and in the past it went on a paper form with my tax return. This year, it was filed online. ONLY online. No other option. I also do my sales tax reporting online, and the state has stopped sending me paper forms, so it looks like that's going to be mandatory too.

      I've been renewing my car registrations via the web for several years. I wonder how long before they make that th
    • friend you have a problem. I'm here to help you.

      http://library.albany.edu/briggs/addiction.html [albany.edu]

      I know you have a dependancy.. "a dependency that can be as destructive as alcoholism and drug addiction." And yes, I admit I have it too. "IAD is said to be closest to pathological gambling."

      My advice to you is to get outside. enjoy some fresh air. Talk to people, and if you can't find any people, talk to some animals, perhaps getting yourself a pet.

      If you continue along the path of a 'net addict' you may find i
  • Other growth rates (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:38PM (#14926060)
    What is the growth rate of broadband availability?
    • If I had to guess, I'd say that growth is slowing down because our infrastructure is stuck in the tarpit of failed deregulation. I just checked yesterday, and in Germany you can get a broadband connection approximately equivalent to one for which I'd have to pay $50/mo., for only €9/mo. In Sweden it seems regular people can get 100MBit connections to their homes at reasonable prices.

      Maybe nobody else is jumping to get on the Internet because it's not getting any cheaper and it's not getting any bet

  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <shadow...wrought@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:39PM (#14926070) Homepage Journal
    Eventually, pretty everyone who wants a product has it. Those who don't want it, don't get it. Just because internet growth has been expanding by leaps and bounds is not a reason to think it will always be so.

    Its like after opening day in baseball when a third of the players in the league are projected to bat .500 with 162 homeruns and 400+ RBIs.

  • Commercialization (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:40PM (#14926075)
    My usage has dropped drastically in the last few years, primarily due to the commercialization, ads, scams, pop-overs, etc. I realize that these people need to make money too, but in general, it just seems things have been commercialized to the point of irritation.

    There's still lots of interesting stuff out here, it's just getting less worthwhile to look for it.
    • If I'm not the first to suggest it, I definitely won't be the last... many of the problems you speak of can be gotten around simply via the use of a capable client software [mozilla.com] and a secure operating system.

      I posit that the use of buggy and insecure software is one major reason that Internet growth hasn't been all that it could have. People are (rightfully) terrified of all the spam, pop-up ads, viruses, privacy concerns that could all be eliminated to a large extent if reliable end-user software were the norm
    • Adblock religiously.

      In the old days you had to configure Junkbuster and edit text files, but it's much easier these days with firefox extensions.
  • That's me (Score:4, Funny)

    by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:41PM (#14926090) Homepage Journal
    I've made a conscious decision to abstain from Internet usage. Don't have it, don't need it, don't want it.
    • by caffeination ( 947825 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:48PM (#14926165)
      Me too. They've been going on about this internet thing like it's the Second Coming for years, and here I am, all these years later, still haven't used it, and I'm fine. I don't see what all the fuss can possibly be about if I can get along so well without it.
  • "Is this simply a combination of luddites and a statistical quirk, or is the Internet reaching its saturation point in the U.S.?"

    Maybe it's reached its saturation point because of those "luddites"? There are plenty of people who live as comfortably as they wish without the Internet and have no desire to get it, and those people aren't going to die out for a few decades. Spend some time in Oklahoma or Arkansas.

    I kinda wonder why this is supposed to matter. Anyone (with VERY few exceptions) who wants Internet
    • Would you say the same about people who do not embrace the automobile or electricity? What about those who do not wish for medical science and instead pray their disease away?
      • Am I supposed to turn pale and say "Oh, that's completely different!" or something?

        I'd say that it's their own business in both cases. I guess it sucks for their kids, but it's worth it to avoid a situation where the government forces "progress" on everyone, regardless of whether or not they want it.
  • by Electric Eye ( 5518 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:42PM (#14926097)
    Anyone who wants Internet access pretty much has it. Besides, there are so many people in this coutnry anyway.

    End of discussion. Really.
  • When is the last time you told someone to google something (most likely to get them off your back) and they said, "Oh, I don't use that interweb thing."

    I suspect that the two main reasons for any increase in the number of people using the internet in the US at this point is due to the fact that more people are being born than dying, and likely also has to do with the number of immigrants.

    Coincidentally, the numbers on the CIA Factbook give me 1% when taking these things into consideration.

  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother.optonline@net> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:42PM (#14926106) Journal
    It's little wonder that millions of people don't like or trust the Internet. Take Sylvia Goodwin, a 57-year-old assistant attorney general in Tucson. She has a PC at home but no Net service. That puts her among the 31% of households that say they will not subscribe to an Internet service because access at work is sufficient. To Goodwin, the Web is a 21st century manifestation of the world depicted in George Orwell's 1984. As a prosecutor, Goodwin knows how easy it is for Big Brother to gain access to personal information. To her, giving out addresses, telephone numbers, and credit-card information online seems like a surefire way to lose control of your privacy. "If you do everything on the Internet, someone can go in and pick it up," she says.

    1984? That's a bit of a stretch. There, the government controlled all communications; I don't think any one government can control the Internet. It's spread across the globe and even repressive governments allow limited access.

    Her problem is that she's bought into the media hype over the problems on the Internet. It's not like there are none, but if she's worried about her personal information, does she throw out sensitive documents (pay stubs, credit card bills, etc.) without shredding them? Perhaps she's handed her card over to a cashier, not realizing it's being double swiped [moneysense.ca]. Does she carry on cell phone conversations out in public, blithely giving away personal details anyone in earshot can hear?

    The problem is not the Internet, but the people on the Internet, specifically the con artists, scammers, and criminals who now have a new way of fleecing honest citizens. As long as the media contnues to blow every story out of proportion, Internet growth will die out.

    • by Ken_g6 ( 775014 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:55PM (#14926233) Homepage
      Likewise, from the end of the article:

      Puente doesn't even have a computer at home. That would mean spending close to $1,000, plus an additional $15 to $20 a month for Internet service, not to mention the inevitable upgrades. "You always have to buy some new software to make it juicier," she says. "What kind of juice would I be getting out of it? Nothing."

      1. You can get a computer for ~$500.
      2. I have internet for $7 a month (going up to $10 after the first year).
      3. Aside from software required for school or work, I haven't bought any software in years. There are too many good free/OSS solutions out there!
      • Puente doesn't even have a computer at home. That would mean spending close to $1,000, plus an additional $15 to $20 a month for Internet service......

        1. You can get a computer for ~$500.
        2. I have internet for $7 a month (going up to $10 after the first year).
        3. Aside from software required for school or work, I haven't bought any software in years. There are too many good free/OSS solutions out there!

        I think the perception of cost and problems is what keeps many away. Sure, you can get good deal, because y
      • Heck... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cr0sh ( 43134 )
        1. You can get a computer for ~$500.

        Note: Ken_g6, this isn't aimed at you - your tips are spot on...

        If you know what you are doing, have no qualms about "dumpster diving", and are willing to get up off the couch for a weekend to peruse business park/office building dumpsters - most of the time you can get enough working parts for a computer - for free!

        Indeed, if you work for any business with a large enough IT department, and are nice to the IT staff, you can sometimes get whole systems for nothing. The

    • And how naive do you have to be to believe that your personal information isn't on the Internet just because you didn't put it there?
      • I wonder how many people would be as amazed as my mom was to learn that her cell phone records were up for grabs. Whatever a clear definition of what "on the internet" may mean to you, it seems cynical to expect all nongeeks to just assume that nearly any "personal information" is so readily accessible...

        Anecdotally - with ISP's failing to educate their newbies about this, it usually comes as quite a shock to others when I can quickly browse to their own unlisted phone number / street address / age / etc.
    • The difference between the Internet and your theoretical public phone conversation is ease of access. You probably don't have millions of people following you every day, waiting for you to slip up and reveal something in a public phone conversation. How many scripts you think are floating around, eavesdropping on every unprotected exchange they find? You can walk around revealing personal information in public phone conversations, throw every pay stub out in your kitchen trash, and very easily never pay
  • by Control-Z ( 321144 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:43PM (#14926117)
    The Internet has to be worth it for those:

    -Who don't want to get viruses
    -Who don't want to get spam
    -Who don't want to pay $50 a month for fast Internet
    -Who don't want to mess with computers at all

        When someone's computer gets all screwed up with viruses they often buy another computer to work around the problem. Maybe it's time to upgrade anyway, but sheesh that's a big investment just to surf the net.

        The biggest thing that would get *me* off the Internet is the monthly $50 cost. Cable is the only option where I live, and Adelphia won't give us a break.

    • To me, owning a computer without Internet access would be like owning a one passenger car without a trunk. Sure, you can still use it, but it makes it's usefulness extremely limited.

      Even the smartcar has a passenger seat and minimal trunk space to carry groceries and whatnot. Imagine a car that could *only* drive you around. To me, that's like a computer without the Internet.

  • Luddite... (Score:5, Funny)

    by maillemaker ( 924053 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:46PM (#14926142)
    From TFA:
    ""If you're spending all your time on e-mail, you're not listening and reading," says Rogers, who rarely took lecture notes while he was a student so he could listen more intently. "I listen and read; e-mail is a huge distraction.""

    Uh, I wonder how he thinks you are supposed to absorb email - osmosis?

    • Re:Luddite... (Score:2, Insightful)

      You don't get it...he's a CEO, he doesn't have to do such time-wasteful frivolities, he has other people to do it for him.

      Using the internet is a waste of time, just have others to do it for you and reap the benefits.

      Writing things down on paper is a waste of time, just have others to do it for you and reap the benefits.

      Cooking food and washing clothes is a waste of time, just have others to do it for you and reap the benefits.

      Seriously, somebody who can delegate his usage of the Internet to an unde

    • Some people are just crazy. Journalists call these people 'sources'.
      So, what do you think of this new email thi...

      If you spend all your time on email, you're not listening and reading. If you spend all your time playing tag with your buddies, you're not listening and reading! If you spend all your time fixing your car, you're not listening and reading!! HAS THE WORLD GONE CRAZY? NOBODY IS LISTENING AND READING ANY MORE? Have you seen TV viewing figures lately? NOBODY is listening and reading!!

      But surely

    • Reading a book is a completely different experience from reading email or the web. Yes, I know, they're both reading. But for stuff that you're going to seriously think about, a book is much better. Email and the web make it too easy to get distracted. (I think this is a user interface issue. You have to physically set down a book, but you can just click on a link when browsing, or move to the next email. When you're reading a book, you're just reading a book, but when you're reading the web, you're r
  • Cognitive Barriers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RunFatBoy.net ( 960072 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:46PM (#14926145)
    For whatever reason, when I explain how to do something to my mother, she insists on writing it down in a notebook, step by step. If I try to explain a process with multiple paths to the solution, she tends to get confused quite easily (e.g. you can either click the print icon on the toolbar or go to file->print and select that option).

    She is 59.

    This is just empiricle evidence of course, but the nature of multiple paths, whether its the computer's interface or the sorting through the billions of results on Google, really seems to confuse the older generation.

    In some respects, my mother seems to do better when she one definitive research source, and one path to a solution.
    • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:10PM (#14926381)
      When dealing with a computer problem, I look for 8 solutions. When my wife wants my help with housework, she's learned that the trick is to give me "explicit" instructions, without multiple paths. Likewise, when she is doing something on the computer, once she learns an approach, she normally keeps doing it without considering other options.

      It's not about being old or slow, it's about "do you care about this?"

      She likes to cook, she'll work on 10 different ways to make a chicken and rice meal. I can make rice, only because she told me what to do once. BTW: while I'm sure there is a way to make rice in the microwave, I've never explored it, and in fact, I use the same pot each time.

      If you don't care to "learn" how something works, you develop a process. I have no interest in learning how to cook, so I don't learn options, I just learn what to do.

      You are interested in computers, therefore, you find a path. I bet when it comes to laundry, someone taught you how to wash your shirts once, and you've never experimented with different combinations of hanging the clothes to dry or running the dryer, have you? My mom could teach you all the ways to make different types of shirts require more/less ironing and different levels of softness, but I don't care. In college, I memorized settings for each shirt type, and never experimented.

  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:47PM (#14926152)
    This would at least provide an incentive for people to sign up and start using the internet.
    Then, you can show them Google, Wikipedia and Slashdot and they may never leave.
  • by sexyrexy ( 793497 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:49PM (#14926174)
    Articles like Businessweek's only reinforce the incorrect perceptions of the ignorant. It would only take one "by the way," sentence in articles like these to help get even a tiny sliver of truth into people's minds - the Net is as safe (or unsafe) as you make it. By getting online, you are not automatically exposing yourself to any dangers you would otherwise never experience. It is what you do with your own information online that creates, or eliminates, security risk.
  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:49PM (#14926175)
    Bill Gates is probably personally responsible for the reticence of large numbers of potential Internet users and ex-users.

    Between difficult to use features, hardware incompatibilities, non-intuitive settings and choices, then spam, virii, adware, phishing, etc, I have seen people give up on the Internet, because they simply couldn't figure out all of Gates BS.

    I switched one friends wife to an iBook, and she (also a newbie) has had little problem, and it makes him a bit envious. He is reluctant to try anything new at this point, as Windows was so hard to deal with.

    For the average users it is only one thing that is important: EASE OF USE.
    • Thank God we have a highly visible individual to attach all blame for everything wrong in the world.
    • People on Slashdot always seem to add one or two tricks in their List of Bad Things done by Microsoft. It's an obvious Illuminati test of my cognitive abilities, so here goes:
      1. Bill Gates didn't invent phishing (this is actually debatable, but no original research is allowed here on Slashdot).
      2. That's enough cutting insight.

      I have family with Windows computers which barely boot, run at a snail's pace, pop up ads at regular intervals, have ad-icons regenerating themselves on the desktop, and are probably repo

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:49PM (#14926176)
    Once new applications and uses appear, the growth in the use of the Internet will continue. We've run out of users for the current applications and uses of the Internet. The way to tap into more users is to create more and different things that can be used.
  • by jdehnert ( 84375 ) * <jdehnert@@@dehnert...com> on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:51PM (#14926189) Homepage
    It's still costly to get a decent connection. Where I live I have a good ISP that provides quality DSL service with support (unlike ATT/SBC which has what has to be the worst customer support on the planet), but even with all of that I'm paying $60/month for my DSL. Once the long term contracts with ATT expire I'm certain that ATT will 'screw my ISP to the wall' so that I'll need to choose between a $60 ATT line with the worlds worst service, or an $85 (or higher) line from my IPS, or I can get on Comcast's 1000 household per subnet cable connections. The future looks dim.

    I have friends who live paycheck to paycheck, and $720 per year for internet access is something they can do without.
    • "Expensive" is a subjective thing. Would $50-$100 be an "expensive" monthly cost for university tution? Would $50-$100 a month be expensive for full health insurance? Certainly $50-$100 would be a cheap price for a car. We would say these things are "cheap", even though we would be paying the same amount of money for those services as high-speed internet. The overwelming vast majority of U.S. households think nothing of spending $50-$100 on cable or sat TV (low income families are actually MORE likely to sp
    • That's precisely the reason, but now we have to hear all the elitist bitching about how these people need to "get a real job" and "stop being a Luddite". The digital class doesn't want to deal with this truth.

      Internet access is not a piddling expense. At a minimum average, people have to pay about $15/mo for dialup; hence, $180/yr. And the Internet at dialup speeds is only so interesting; for example, no online low-ping games, no video, very little audio, no large graphics, etc.

      The only next step u
  • One Major reason ... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SengirV ( 203400 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:55PM (#14926234)
    ... The fact you STILL can't get High speed access in large portions of the US. I moved around 2 mile about 2 years ago. I used to live THREE miles East of MCI/Worldcom and AOL's world headquarters and I could NOT get HSIA. This was, at the time, the fasted growing county in the US, and I could tell you for a fact that 1/2 the homes couldnt' get HSIA.

    This doesn't seem to be the problems with other countries for some reason. I guess their comunications companies actually want to make money on selling internet access, too bad ours doesn't.

    When you OWN the politicians, you cna jsut sit back and charge 10 times the amount for similar service in other countries and you don't have to lift a finger to increase your service area. Why do work when you can get the politicians to pass laws allowing you to do nothing to add user access and charge out the wazzoo.
    • by Drac8 ( 823930 )
      Interesting, im my area of Alberta Canada its much differnt. I live in a town of about 3000 people, and have 3mb telus ADSL. Very very few people in my town still have dialup. And just a few months ago, the local computer store/a company called netago and the special areas district put up 4 highspeed wireless towers offering a 3mb wireless connection to everyone in Special Areas, so a good chunk of rural alberta has access to highspeed.
  • by Cheeze ( 12756 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:55PM (#14926235) Homepage
    I'm going back to NNTP, FTP, and gopher.

    See ya on the flip side
    • In my dreams, I imagine another universe, where gopher became the dominant technology on the Internet instead of the web, and it is great!

      I really like the menu tree paradigm instead of the hypertext paradigm... It was simpler, maps better to the whole directory tree structure, and it probably would have created a system less about presentation and more based on information.
  • by mitchell_pgh ( 536538 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @02:59PM (#14926269)
    The "AWE and AMAZEMENT" of the internet is over in the US. The boom days of the late 90's and early 00's are also over... or more to the point... we got what we wanted (email and the web for those that wanted it). From a personal perspective, I use the internet less now than I did 2-3 years ago. I think we are starting to balance out...
  • by Jim Ethanol ( 613572 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:05PM (#14926324) Homepage
    I live in San Francisco where you'd think the Internet was as pervasive as the air we breathe, and to some degree it is. But I'm originally from Wyoming, (no broke back mountain jokes please) and I can tell you that most people there don't have computers.

    What they do have however, is Playstations and Xbox's. The reasons why are numerous. Cost, lack of options, etc.

    I believe that the next generation consoles, particularly the PS3, along with Ajaxy Web 2.0 and the continued proliferation of broadband to the home, will truly start to bring the Internet to the masses.

    A computer is still intimidating and a tough sell to a lot of these people... but a $300 game machine that your 4 kids are begging for, that's an easy sell.

    Once they discover that it has a decent web browser and that there's a whole new world of communication and content out there... then things will start to really grow.
    • Good point. Computers are intimidating to most end users that I deal with on a daily basis. They are all so afraid to 'mess something up' that most of them do not take full advantage of the services our IT dept has to offer. Having a console that you cannot mess up without physical damage sounds like a better idea to your average end user who wants nothing more than to surf the web anyway. The toughest sell I believe will not be the four to five hundred bucks on the console, but the monthly forty to fif
  • Guess I can't mod this thread now, but it must be a said. Regulate a sector of business and its growth will slow end of story.

    Governments, businesses, lawyers isp's, and such are all playing an increasingly complex game of regulation and political maneuvering these days. Much less than in years before. All this extra "stuff" has a cost, it slows the speed of development and growth of most aspects of the service. Primarily due to the extra hoops and liabilities that users must now jump through and avoi
  • by rewinn ( 647614 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:08PM (#14926356) Homepage

    According to the article, a significant number of people say "access at work is sufficient."

    That's a rational economic decision. 8 hours a day for reading personal email and blogging should be enough for most people.

  • I would like to see the breakdown of reasons for not being connected. And how many of those folks that answered the phone didn't think their household was "online" but their kids were dialing into aol when they got home from school. And how many of those people were just using the Internet from their library or school for financial reasons. Or like the guy who didn't check email himself, but had his secretary print out the emails and bring them to him. He was still making use of the Internet at work, ju
  • Anyone considered, that the slow of growth could be entirely the fault of the current administration in the US, the huge monopolies on the market coupled with lax regulations and prohibitively expensive costs for the home user?

    Sweden and Japan seems to have no problem in internet usage growth even though the /capita ratio is already higher in those countries, so saturation is _clearly_ not the problem in the USA. Of course those countries support or at least do not prohibit the growth of the Internet by s
  • My mother lives out in the middle of nowhere (nearest town is over 15 miles away). I brought her a computer so she could access the internet and e-mail me. Well, it turns out that there is not an ISP with an access number that is local to her. So, no net access (she can't afford the long distance). There are still plenty of people who live in areas like that.
  • To make the obvious connection here, if you look at the Statistical Abstract 2006 Chart 1117 in the Information & Communications section [census.gov], you will see that household penetration is lower for many things that you would think are near 100%: telephones (95.5%), cable television (69.8%), internet connections (54.4%), etc. Telephones, for example, had a hoursehold penetration rate of 61.8% in 1950 - see page 130 of the Trends in Telephone Service [fcc.gov] report. You could argue that adoption rates for technologies
  • I'm 17, and the internet really does cut into alot of time I could be using for better things. I mean, I hate shit like myspace and I do have a blog, but rarely do I post to it. Honestly, it's trying to just keep up with all the news I read, and a few forums I'm addicted to, and the occasional IM. But all of those things add up when you're a student, no matter if it's college or not. I personally get wrapped up too much in the headlines for science, or what's coming in the new (X desktop environment of any
  • It's too expensive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by log0n ( 18224 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:36PM (#14926605)
    The cost of basic living necessities are going up (gas for transportation, electricity for the home, misc. utilities rising) to the point that serious budgeting is taking place. My household already gave up on cable TV (our 2nd year), landline phone access (no cheap DSL), 60F thermostat settings for the winter and relegating the SUV only to short hops or when professionally needed (I'm a regular gigging musician lugging around huge speakers - it's a legit use). Saving that $60 per month (Comcast cable modem) really makes a difference. And for the majority of what I use the internet for, I can do it easily enough through my day job. Hell, I even use an iMac because - well 1 of the reasons ;-) - it only has a 70 or so watt powersupply compared to a 300-500W PC desktop psu.

    A major factor of internet growth slowing is due to corporate greed. Costs everywhere are too high when factored into the rest of the average US citizens budget. The bottom is soon going to collapse - I can't wait.
  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:38PM (#14926618)
    Well if anything's going to turn me off using the Net (well the Web anyway) it's things like the full-page ad that interupts viewing of the referenced article.

    I notice that Wired.com has also started spitting those annoying ads recently too.

    When confronted with such an ad I just hit the back button and don't return.

    I'm happy to accept banner ads (even skyscrapers) but any site that dishes up pop-up/under/over ads and full-page interstitials immediately gets crossed off my list of "sites worth visiting"

    Am I the only one who got that ad on the BWO site -- or doesn't anyone else care that the Net is becoming increasingly like TV in respect to the intrusiveness of advertising?
  • the economy and infrastructure of the U.S. are poised for a big stall for several reasons (loss of credibility of dollar due to inability to pay interest on national debt, light sweet crude production is peaked, big foreign customers seeking new markets in south america and asia makng u.s. less relevent, climate change, outsourcing)....don't worry about the internet, worry about basic infrastructure.
  • by briancnorton ( 586947 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:48PM (#14926699) Homepage
    I think that the lack of useful applications of the internet is finally overtaking the novelty factor. While not a luddite, (mostly) I don't even bother with email anymore, and only use the web to read news, get driving directions and order pizza. Where at one point $50/mo seemed reasonable for high speed, I now balk at spending $15/mo for DSL.
  • by nysus ( 162232 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @03:56PM (#14926758)
    The article fails to mention how the U.S. stacks up with other first world countries. My guess is that we're pretty far behind. Let's face it, the U.S. is a great place to live, but only if you are in the lucky half with adequate finances and education. So much for the tide lifting all boats. "Fuck you, I got mine," is pretty much the American mindset these days. It's probably the precise attitude expressed by the passengers on board the Titanic as it sank into the ocean. Kind of sad.
  • Worldcom (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HermanAB ( 661181 ) on Wednesday March 15, 2006 @04:31PM (#14927071)
    The *real* reason for the slowdown in growth is that Worldcom/MCI is not fudging the growth numbers anymore. Previous growth and usage numbers were pure BS, now it is only partial BS...

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger