CNN has published a result of a survey, stating that any given day women will forgo sex for Internet in almost 50% of the chance. The argument is made that Americans rely on the Internet more and more each day. We’re hooked on ‘tubes.
My guess is that the survey was done online. It’s almost like the infamous online study by large Russian web-portal that clearly showed that 100% of respondents use Internet. Who knew? Given the state of the broadband in US, chances are – most people DO forgo Internet connectivity for other activities.
Those of us who live in well developed areas enjoy omnipresense of broadband. It is as if we almost bathe in it. In New York City I can enter almost any Starbucks and get online using either AT&T’s or T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi. In the college, where I take classes, I can hook up to their Wi-Fi network from almost every college building – even old once that college plans to vacate soon. And if that cafe on the corner, whose name escapes me, isn’t outfitted with own Wi-Fi by the owner, I can hook up my cell phone to my laptop via Bluetooth or USB cable and be online in less then 5 minutes. Or just check e-mail directly from my phone if needed.
Fast forward to rural areas, like my parents’ vacation home in upstate Pennsylvania, also known as upstate NY. Instead of 3G I usually see EDGE or even GPRS type of a signal. That means speeds around dial-up with the same kind of quality. Starbucks cafes are one per hundred square miles or at least one hour driving away. Pretty long shot for casual e-mail checking. Working from such a location is definitely out of the question. So I can hardly see that anyone from nearby population would forgo any kind of activity for questionable pleasure of waiting for contemporary web site to download. Various studies show the average size of a web page is anywhere between 150K to 300K. Add stuffers like banners, banner and statistics scripts, flash elements… just forget about it.
So while Google battles to get their content closer to subscribers by setting up caching servers on ISP’s own networks, maybe it’ll be a better idea to at least give those “forgotten” markets a chance to experience this content. They may still think Internet is a secret army project gone wild…