Dataquest: 61 percent of US households use the Net

Despite the demise of many popular online destinations, and what often appears to be a daily parade of security alerts, U.S. Internet use continues to rise, according to a new study released by Dataquest, a division of Gartner.

Sixty-five million households now actively use the Internet, according to the study. This is an increase of 8.4 million households since November 2000 and represents 61 percent of all U.S. households. Dataquest defined active use as one member of a surveyed household having accessed the Internet from home in the last month, said Peggy Schoener, senior analyst for Dataquest's Telecommunications and Networking Group.

Most consumers in the U.S. are still plugging along with dial-up connections, which account for more that 75 percent of all consumer Internet connections, said the study. Schoener attributed the slow growth of consumer broadband to an industry focus on business accounts and rollout problems with DSL technology. Twenty percent of dial-up households appear to be growing tired of their download speeds and plan to upgrade by the middle of next year to some form of broadband connectivity, said the study.

Dataquest also noted that despite an economy that has forced many consumers to cut back on spending, 90 percent of these active-use households plan on continuing their Internet access plan in the future, up from 88 percent in November 2000. Ninety-four percent of high-speed users plan on renewing their access plan, said Schoener, viewing the increase as a good sign for the broadband industry.

U.S. consumers are flocking to e-commerce Web sites while online, increasing their total purchases from US$3.2 billion in June to $3.98 billion in July, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

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