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Influx interview- john horrigan-pew- the broadband explosion

May 31, 2006

Influx got the chance to interview John Horrigan, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Internet Project , who oversees research strategy at Pew. John was the brains behind a recent Pew report on broadband and the internet.

How fast is broadband access growing?

Broadband adoption at home grew by 40% from March 2005 to March 2006. That means that, as of the end of March 2006, 42% of American adults had high-speed connections at home.

What groups/segments are adopting the technology fastest?

The lower and middle-income segments show the fastest growth in broadband uptake. For the $30,000 to $50,000 range of annual household income, there was a growth of 59% over the past year. African Americans also showed a very rapid growth, from 14% of African Americans with broadband in 2005 to 31% in March 2006. That’s growth of 121%.

What are people doing with broadband?

As to what people do with broadband, our research has found generally that people do more of everything online once they have the home high-speed connection. One specific activity that is important, and that we highlight in our latest report, is user-generated content. Whether it’s contributing a personal creation (artwork, a story, video), having one’s own web page, or one’s own blog, internet users are clearly into expressing themselves online. 48 million Americans have posted some content to the internet; three quarters of these people have high-speed connections at home, meaning 42% of home broadband users have posted some content to the internet. Broadband users, then, are about contributing things to the internet, often using information they get online as inputs to what they post.

What impact do you think the increased penetration of broadband will have on traditional media channels like television?

Growth of broadband will likely mean that people spend less time watching TV. But it’s not going to be a zero sum game, online content may supplement the news or entertainment content people watch on TV. The challenge for traditional media will be to make the content they produce relevant on multiple platforms, the internet, obviously, as well.

What evidence do you have that consumers are getting creatively involved in content production or adaptation on the internet?

As to content production/adaptation, we’ve asked people if they’ve gotten content from the internet and “remixed it” for subsequent postings on the internet. Among home broadband users, 22% say they have done this. That’s not an insignificant number of people really getting involved with the creative use of digital content.

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