F2C: John Horrigan & Drew Clark

John Horrigan
Pew Internet Project. Do random digit dial telephone surveys of adults 18+.

Large variety of internet users, and distribution interesting: Lots of American the internet is peripheral to their lives. Even getting broadband deployment and infrastructure right, there are a lot of restrictions on adoption. There is friction.

Evolution of internet users over last two years. Vision of high speed internet from mid-90s very different to the way that it actually has developed. Pew picked up early many-to-many developments, e.g. communities came to light in 2000 survey. In 2004 was first time they saw more broadband than users at home. Doesn’t mean that the majority of Americans had broadband, just a majority within the population of home internet users.

As broadband started to gain a foothold, started to see not just many-to-many communication and participation. Started to see internet users blog, user their voice in a richer way, participate in the political sphere through blogging, support groups for medical problems, people sharing information online as a way to participate in their healthcare decisions.

As broadband spreads, always on is overlaid with always present. People willing to experiment with new applications, even on dial-up.

Developed a typology of different types of users, built around three dimensions of people’s relationship to tech: gadgets; actions; attitudes. 20% of the population like their tech for the productivity gains. At the other side of the fence, 50% of the population see ITCs as peripheral, people who have cell phones or internet connection but they are occasional users and they run into problems. Big on is usability, have problems with devices, have problems with dial-up and are worried about cost of switching to broadband.

They don’t find the internet that relevant to their lives, it’s peripheral to them, they don’t see relevant content or material on the internet. Internet is in the build-out phase, installing capabilities deeply in a society, and that’s the stage where institutions adapt to new realities. E.g. healthcare companies not just pushing info out but also monitoring.

Other element of the user experience is broadband, and there is a dearth of information on the availability and quality of broadband.

Drew Clark
BroadbandCensus.com. Trying to track and publish information about availability, quality and pricing about broadband in the US. Partnered with Pew. The site invites people to type in their zipcode, and you get the information as its available. So government doesn’t release how many broadband operators in an area so they are releasing that information for them.

Are identifying providers in an area, rating their speeds, service etc. There are lots of speed tests out there, and some other organisations trying to track the availability in particular states, which is very positive. But currently there’s not enough information about these services out there. As more people find out about the true state of broadband out there, they can make better decisions and competition will improve.

Using the NDT speed tests, and are working with the test providers to ensure that tests are served immediately when users visit the site.

Trying to create a pool of data that’s useful for many different groups of people. Users. Policy makers at federal and state level. Policy makers are an important group to reach out to, and are trying to increase number of states they are working with.

Data mapped on to zip code.

Need people to get involved, to take the test and promote the site, and get involved in their committee(s).

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