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Study: Some Web users don't want high-speed connection

Study: Some Web users don't want high-speed connection

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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For some people, faster is not always better. A new study says some people don't want to go fast on the information super highway.

I went to the University of Utah computer lab armed with what may seem like a stupid question: Which do people prefer: a dial-up Internet connection, or high-speed Internet?

One student sarcastically pretended to think about it when he answered, "Umm, high-speed Internet." Another student said, rather matter-of-factly, "High speed, of course."

Both of these students looked at me like I was an idiot, which is a look I've received often in the past, so I recognize it quickly. But the only reason I asked is because of a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project that says 19 percent of dial-up users say nothing would convince them to upgrade to broadband.

One student said, "That doesn't make much sense to me." Another could only guess, "Maybe they've never tried high-speed Internet before."

XMission President Pete Ashdown said, "For a lot of people still on the dial-up, they see no need to switch to the faster speeds because it does what they want to do just fine."

Ashdown says he's not all that surprised to hear this. Some customers hold on to their dial-up modems because they're cheaper than other connections. But he says this groups isn't really indicative of Internet users in general. He says people are making the switch to higher speeds, and the percentage of people still using dial-up is much smaller than it was 10 years ago.

"It used to be about 80 percent, and now I'd probably say it's below 10 percent," he said.

Some Web designers just don't understand why anyone wouldn't want to upgrade their speed. owner Shad Vick says Web sites are being made for high-speed connections.

"There is so much more video and audio than ever before. You can even go watch TV shows, if you missed them, on some Web sites," he said.

Vick says he can't ignore the modem users, though, and he'll configure his sites to download quickly no matter which Internet connection is used.

"We'll take images, for example, we'll compress them down. We'll take audio files and instead of using a larger wav file, we'll compress them to mp3," he said.

Some Internet service providers say technology most likely has reached its limit with dial-up, and it probably will never get any faster than it is right now.


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Paul Nelson


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