Broadband subscribers — whether they've logged on via cable modem, digital subscriber line, a wireless connection or satellite — access more online content than their narrowband counterparts, and are increasingly creating and exchanging more content online, according to a Pew Internet & American Life Project research study.
The average broadband user does seven tasks online each day, compared to three for narrowband users.
Some 82 percent of broadband users go online each day, versus 58 percent of dial-up users. And roughly 69 percent of broadband users have more than one computer, while 55 percent have home networks.
The do-it-yourself online content threads in the report may address the issue of whether there is enough compelling content for Americans to go online.
"Some have raised the concern that a lack of compelling online content, particularly in the entertainment arena, has dampened consumer uptake of broadband," the report stated. "Our research suggests that most early broadband adopters find plenty to do with their fast connections, especially when it comes to creating online content and performing information searches."
Forty percent of broadband users said they have created content for Web sites or for other people, and 16 percent said they do it daily. This includes sharing files or photos with others.
"On a typical day, 22 percent of broadband users download games, video or pictures, with 17 percent downloading music," the report stated.
The "always-on" nature of broadband allows users to get more things done in a given day, Pew said. When asked what they've done the most frequently since they got a broadband connection, 32 percent said "looking for information," while 28 percent said e-mail. Some 61 percent said they spent more time online and less time watching TV since they got a high-speed connection.
Respondents also reported that the high-speed connection has improved their quality of life. Sixty-five percent of respondents said it's helped them to pursue hobbies and interests, or improved their ability to shop. Another 55 percent said it's improved their ability to do their jobs, while another 47 percent said they used their high-speed connection to gather important health-care information.
Broadband also cut into other leisure-time activities. Thirty-seven percent of respondents said they watched less TV, 31 percent spent less time shopping in stores, 18 percent read newspapers less often and 13 percent spent less time in traffic.
Pew, which said there are 24 million Americans with high-speed-data connections — or nearly double the amount reported by the top U.S. cable and telephone companies — based its survey on 507 Internet users. At the end of first quarter, the U.S. cable-modem count was about 8 million, based on company reports, while the RBOCs counted about 4 million DSL subscribers.