Tech Industry

Study: Americans' home Net adoption slowing

A new research report suggests that Americans' home access to the Internet is coming close to peaking.

Americans' home adoption of the Internet has stalled, and doesn't appear likely to increase much in the next few years, according to a new research report issued Thursday.

About 64 percent of Americans had some form of Internet access at home in 2005, said Dallas-based Parks Associates. That's up from 62 percent in 2004, the research firm reported, while also predicting that Internet adoption will grow only 3 percentage points by 2009.

"I think (adoption) is slowing down," said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. "Part of it is that it's hard to get cheaper on the dial-up side than where prices are already at."

Last year, a study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project concluded that Americans' adoption of broadband was slowing.

The Parks Associates report said that 42 percent of Americans now have some form of broadband access at home, while 22 percent more have dial-up. An additional 13 percent get Internet access only outside of the home--at work or a library, for example--and 23 percent don't use the Internet at all.

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"There are people out there, as hard as it is to believe, that don't use e-mail," Barrett said. "I guess old habits die hard. It's hard to imagine not using e-mail and not using Google, but there's just a certain demographic where that's the case."

He added that his research suggested that there are large pockets of Americans for whom modern technology means fancy televisions and home entertainment systems and not computers. And thus, he suggested, the only way to convince such people to get online would be to bundle computers and Internet service with televisions.

In any case, Barrett said he was surprised by the fact that a lot of the people contacted for the study who said they did not have Internet access at home were "vague" about their reasoning.

"I anticipated people who would say 'I don't find it useful' or 'I have it at work.' But I was surprised by the number of people who said they didn't have a reason."

He also said 5 percent of those participating in the survey told the researchers that they would never get Internet access at home, regardless of how cheap it was.