A new report by Park Associates of Dallas indicates that the rate of Internet adoption has leveled off in the United States. Should this be cause for alarm among technology companies and online proponents in general? Hardly.
For one thing, the medium's usage has already grown exponentially in the last decade, so a slowdown was inevitable. For another, the Internet is a global phenomenon, not just an American one--and, as reflected in tech companies' strategies, much of its growth is anticipated beyond U.S. borders. In India alone, according to ClickZ, research showed that Internet usage last year was up 54 percent from 2004.
It is, of course, legitimate to raise issues regarding a digital divide between Internet haves and have-nots. But any reports of the Internet dying would be greatly exaggerated.
Blog community response:
"I'm actually impressed that the numbers are as high as they are. We're never going to reach 100%, however--some less privileged people are always going to choose to fritter what little money they make away on silly things like food and medical care."
"Without accessible and compelling content and applications, broadband adoption and usage will decline...The challenge, then, is setting forth policies that encourage both network and endpoint investment and innovation today, without placing unforeseen restrictions on future innovation."
"I place my bets strongly on the small and mofussil towns of India being THE growth engine of Internet over the next 2-3 years."
--Internet in India