Broadband access in U.S. homes is rising fast, fueling the amount of content users are posting online, such as blogs, videos, photos and Web pages, a new study has found.
The number of U.S. residents with broadband access at home jumped 40 percent to 84 million between March 2005 and March 2006, double the growth rate of the previous 12-month period, according to the study “Home Broadband Adoption 2006” by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
This broadband adoption growth in homes is having a direct impact on the amount of content users are posting online. While 35 percent of all Internet users have posted content online, 42 percent of home broadband users have done so. Among home users who have posted content online, 73 percent have a broadband connection.
“Having a fast, always-on Internet connection at home is associated with users’ posting content to the Internet and thereby shaping the environment of cyberspace,” reads the study, authored by John B. Horrigan, the organization’s associate director for research.
User contributions are behind some of today’s hottest Internet services, such as video-sharing sites like YouTube, social networks such as MySpace and blog publishers such as Microsoft’s MSN Spaces.
Even search engines are taking advantage of contributions from users. For example, Yahoo has built a search engine called Yahoo Answers whose index is made up of explanations users post to answer each other’s questions.
Search engines have also started to leverage services that let users save and categorize links to Web sites and share these links with others, a phenomenon known as social bookmarking and tagging. Yahoo last year acquired del.icio.us, generally considered a pioneer in this space, and most major search engines, including Google and Ask.com, provide similar services, which they say improves the relevance of their search results.
Other interesting findings from the Pew study include:
The Pew Internet & American Life Project is a nonprofit organization devoted to investigating the impact of the Internet on people’s lives through surveys, interviews and research. It is supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, based in Washington, D.C.