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Home » Hacking News » Survey: Internet Use Holds Steady

Survey: Internet Use Holds Steady

by ivy on July 17th, 2001 NEW YORK — Despite the growing pile of failed dot-com companies, Internet usage has remained steady, a survey found.

Overall, more than half of those surveyed said they used the Internet the same amount as they did six months ago. Twenty-nine percent used it more, and 17 percent used it less, according to the survey released Monday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

And spending less time online wasn't necessarily a rejection of the Internet: Some users said they had become proficient or installed faster connections and needed less time to get the same information.

Of the users who reported spending more time online, most said they need it more for school or work, had found more things to do online, or have better access to the Net or a computer.

Those who reported spending less time online said they are not as interested in the things they used to do or are facing a time crunch.

The survey also found that only 8 percent of U.S. Internet users have seen one of their favorite sites go out of business. Of that group, only one-fifth are spending less time online.

"They are able to find other things online to substitute for what they lost,'' said Lee Rainie, the project's director. "For all the trouble of dot-com companies, there is still plenty of building-out going on online.''

In May, Telecommunications Reports International found a slight drop in home online subscribers for the first time since the research group began tallying subscriber levels 21 years ago.

And late last year, Nielsen/NetRatings found average surfing time dropping by 15 percent, from 17.5 hours in October to 14.9 hours in December.

But both of those findings appear to reflect temporary conditions.

The TRI study attributed the drop to the closure of several free Internet service providers. The decreases were almost made up by increases in paid dial-up and cable modem subscribers.

Overall, the drop was 0.29 percent, to 68.5 million, in the first quarter of this year. Some home users may have had both free and paid services, so dropping one doesn't necessarily keep them offline.

Amy Fickling, managing editor for the group's Online Census, pointed to continued growth of paid services — America Online recently hit 30 million — as a sign the Net still has room to grow.

And Nielsen/NetRatings found Internet usage back up again, to about 16.5 hours in each of the past two months.

A separate measure from Jupiter Media Metrix also suggests last year's drop was seasonal. It found Internet users in the United States averaged 19 hours online in June, compared with 16.7 hours a year ago.

The Pew study was based on a telephone survey of 2,096 adults, of which 1,198 were Internet users. The margin of sampling error for the Internet-only group was plus or minus 3 percentage points. The survey took place between Feb. 1 and March 1.

by The Associated Press

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