June 18, 2009 By Casey Mayville
Broadband Immune to Effects of Recession
With the current economic climate, more and more Americans are tightening their belts and doing away with luxury items. Dry cleaning, a morning latte, a plethora of TV channels - things once part of Americans' daily lives are being cut back in this time of economic hardship. However, in a recent survey by the Pew Research Center, Internet and American Life Project, home broadband adoption has reached an all time high, and high-speed Internet is no longer considered just a luxury by most Americans - it is a necessity. The percentage of broadband users has increased from 55 percent in May 2008 to 63 percent in April 2009 - placing the Internet in the "must keep" category for many Americans.
"Many consumers view their home broadband connection as a conduit for connecting to community and economic opportunities," said John B. Horrigan, principal author of the report. The findings show that Americans are much more likely to cancel or cut back cable TV or cell phone service than Internet service.
The greatest growth in broadband adoption in the past year has taken place among population subgroups which have been below-average usage rates in the past. Senior citizens, low-income citizens, older baby boomers and rural Americans are among the groups who have seen an increase in Internet usage.
A Quick View
Other notable findings were as follows:
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.