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back to article 60 million Americans don't use the interwebs

A new study from the US Federal Communications Commission says that 93 million Americans don't have broadband internet access at home. Most non-adopters cite "affordability and lack of digital skills" as the reasons for not steering themselves into the fast lane of the information superhighway, but many fear or are disgusted by …

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nothing of interest

I'm sure for Billy Bob Jr. subsisting in the swamps of Louisiana there really is nothing of interest on the interwebs.

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Joke

Come down here and see for yourself

And we'll cook you up a nice dinner ... you'll taste fine with some bell pepper, hot peppers, green onions, parsley and basil. While you're simmering, you can surf here:

http://www.breauxbridgelive.com/

http://www.cajungrill.com/

http://www.jfolse.com

http://www.mamou.org

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Unhappy

I see the point of the people

Nothing really relevant on the internet, since 90% of it is Trolls, Porn, and Self-absorbed twats. And the argument about needing the internet to stay with the 'Digital Economy' is completely circular, i.e. we need more people on the internet so we have more people skilled in the internet to run the internet.

And if they are tracking how many people have broadband, then I would put that number down in the thousands. I have the highest speed package my ISP offers and I am still getting full performance with it using an AUI adapter and a Cisco 2500. Its not even like I'm in a rural area, I live in downtown Seattle.

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FAIL

Sloppy

Your review of the report is completely misleading. Try again. For those of you who are interested in what the survey reports, click on the .pdf link.

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Doesn't fit in well

"too much pornography and offensive material"

with the 2.7 million hours or 0.94 Terabytes of porn the average person is supposed to have. Perhaps the average American is less than the worldwide mean.

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Joke

Or perhaps...

...there are some seriously sick basterds out there with quite a bit more than 1 Tb of porn. What anyone would want 300+ years of continuous porn for is beyond me, though. Zinc deficiency will probably kill them much faster than that.

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Anonymous Coward

0.94 Terabytes average?

I've probably got about half a Terabyte and i thought i had an obscenely large about!

Either I'm not as pervy as i thought, or there are a few really odd people out there massivly skewing the average.

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300+ years of continuous porn

You are forgetting that if you fast forward to the best bits, it will probably take a lot less than 300 years to watch!

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WTF?

Really?

I consider myself a pretty average bloke, I like a bit of filth once in a while but surely when you seen one set of bits in about half-dozen positions with various "attachments", shall we say, surely you've seen them all?

A couple of GB tops, maybe sort you out, but 0.5+ TB?! Really need that many bongo-movies and "money-shots"?!?

The mind ( and the pants presumably ) boggles!

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Paris Hilton

1TB of porn?

You'd go blind and die of dehydration watching that in one go!

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Happy

Either offensive or dangerous?

Can't really argue with 'em there.

Like the idea of not paying for it, too.

Is that enough to call myself a technophone?

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Anonymous Coward

Good

Good - keep them off. For those that can't be bothered, good on you! The internet really is shit, i spend lots of time on it pondering why I'm on it, but it's like some twisted addiction sucking away my free time.

As to the scared people, again good, already too many scared children on the internet making things rubbish we don't need anymore.

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Pint

re: Good

While I certainly see your point, still... I probably would never have achieved what I have professionally (graphic design/illustrations/publications) or personally (political cartooning/"citizen journalism") if it hadn't been for the Intertubes.

As far as the people who are worried that it's too offensive or too dangerous: if the stuff's offensive, then DON'T FARGIN' _LOOK_ AT IT, MAN! It's not like anybody's putting a gun to your heads! And the 'Net would be a helluva lot less dangerous if you get a couple of brain cells and STOP CLICKING ON EVERY GODDAMN' LINK YOU SEE IN YOUR GODDAMN' EMAIL.

Phew, I feel so much better now.

Pint of beer, because it's nearly 6pm here on the East Coast.

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Stop

Did I miss something?

The whole point of the article is that they're not fargin' looking at it, right? The people that aren't using the Internet aren't the ones complaining. They're happy enough without it. That's fine, they can do as they please. They do have some valid arguments.

It's "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski" (seriously, what's up with THAT name?) who thinks everybody should be forwarding lolcats and hanging out on 4-chan. I think Crazy Operations Guy has it right that it's a circular argument. Everybody should be on the Internet so that everybody can be on the Internet. It's the Tautology Club (http://www.xkcd.com/703/)!

This isn't some huge problem. It's just one idiot trying to look important and failing miserably at it.

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Paris Hilton

Sometimes you have to help people...

whether they want it or not.

Great quote just shown to me by a colleague. Here you have it, yet again, folks. People do not want to be online, and yet we are going to make it a multi-$10s of billions mission to push it down their damnedable stubborn throats. How gallant.

I reiterate the lesson of ION.

Paris, oh yeah, she wants it.

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whether they want it ot not

Well, we are dealing with a nation that's so keen on democracy that they force it on other nations at gunpoint. I've never understood how that idea works either.

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Really?

"Millions of Americans don't care, don't want broadband, don't want to pay for it, and find the internet either offensive or dangerous."

So, out of roughly 300 million people, 93 million (or, roughly 30%) don't use high-speed internet. And the comparable count in Britain would be?

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Flame

Well duh

It's not a matter of being satisfied with dialup, it's a matter of affordability. I come from a poor area and thnakfully I got out of it but the people their can't afford to keep up with the technologies the rest of us do.

If you can happen to afford a computer, broadband is at least $45 a month without it being tacked on to another server (phone or cable). That's a lot when you work an hourly wage job.

Three years ago you used to be able to by a 28 inch TV for less than $100 but now with the HD craze, a TV smaller than that is twice as much. So quick do we embrace technology that we fail to realize the cost impact on others. Walkman's and CD players with their media are inexpensive compared to the cost of owning MP3 player. You need a computer and internet access if you don't have CD's to convert. That's pretty expensive to play a $1 song. Thanks iTards!

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Paris Hilton

Cheaper broadband

Some providers sell low-end broadband for $15 - $25 per month, and include the equipment. Even bundled packages weigh in at $100 per month for phone, telly, and Internet. When people are willing to pay $50 - $150 per month for cell phone bills, I hardly think affordability is an issue for real cost-conscious consumers.

Paris, hardly an issue since she is low-end and cheap, too.

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Sorry

I call bullshit on the 28" TV for under $100. Being a skinflint, in 2005 I searched high and low for the cheapest 25 inch (analog of course) set to replace my recently dead 13 incher. I wound up having to spend over $200 for what would now be a nice brick save for the graces of basic cable at $15/mo. I'll add that all sets sold in the US three years ago were DTV ready.

That said, you are spot on on everything else.

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WTF?

"Lack of digital skills"?

Jeezus H., how goddamn' much skill does someone need to forward emails of stupid jokes and LOLcats to everybody they know and their goddamn' uncle?

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Coffee/keyboard

Which might just be the problem

Maybe many of the people who say the internet is "a waste of time" are intelligent but lacking in digital skills, and the only thing that they see reported about the internet is stupid jokes and LOLcats.

However, with a few digital skills, you can also use it to (for example) locate a technical manual for an obscure obsolete phone system you are trying to maintain (did that yesterday), thus saving yourself a bucketload of time or money. The so-called "digital economy" is only one part of the internet's value, or, more specifically, the value of the information it can allow access to.

Even a Louisiana subsistence swamp farmer might find something about drainage ditches or eco-tourism. Icon: the swap farmer's keyboard.

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Paris Hilton

Is there ...

... some association of wealth, health and income in those areas too?

I believe that some analysis in the UK some years ago mapped poor income with poor IT skills.

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Stop

Pool closed - Full

Good.

The net's already full of numpties with half a clue.

We don't need any more.

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Grenade

What's a few million more then?

When the AOL'ers got out of their pen, the net broke. A bit more brokenness is not going to hurt significantly more. The pain is already unbearable.

Down, not across...

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Anonymous Coward

Meanwhile in Blighty (Gawd bless 'er)

18.3 million households in the UK (70 per cent) had Internet access in 2009.

In 2009, 37.4 million adults (76 per cent of the UK adult population) accessed the Internet in the three months prior to interview.

http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?ID=8

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Go

Politik

I never suspected so many of our colonial cousins read El Reg; howdy!

I'd be interested to know how many of the 5k interviewees voted Democrat? Actually, just how many voted and/or held passports would be a benchmark.

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Happy

But of course...

"the internet is a waste of time"...

Of course, we all know that. Sometimes, however, time needs to be wasted.

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Grenade

Can we

ban the rest of the Americans from the net, i am sure my experience of it would get better.

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Grenade

Can we

ban certain parts of Russia from the internet. I'm sure most of our experience would get better with fewer viruses, trojans, botnets... I think I'd rather deal with numpties than ID-stealers.

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Flame

Ban Brits, too . . .

. . . and reduce the number of smug, self-important twats by 90%.

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FAIL

Sorry - a troll needs to be fed

"Can we ban the rest of the Americans from the net, i am sure my experience of it would get better."

OK I was going to write a pithy reply - but with your level of logic it is not worth my time.

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FAIL

Survey Fail...

I love how a survey of 5000 people can be extrapolated to say that 60 MILLION people dont use the internet.

Just where did they find these 5000 people? Is it an accurate cross section of the US? I kinda doubt you can get an accurate cross-section of ages, sexes, religions, minorities, views, etc of the US population from 5000 people...

Look i just took a survey of the people in my office (there are 3 of us) and my statistics extrapolate to the population of northern germany thinking that statistics based on 5000 people out of 300 million are full of sh*t.... Where's my funding?

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Statistics understanding fail...

A survey of 5000, if correctly done, can certainly be extrapolated to make inferences about a larger population, and the accuracy of these predictions can even be estimated. Maybe take some time to brush up on your understanding of statistics?

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FAIL

Im well aware of statistics

Your honestly telling me you believe that 5000 people can provide a good extrapolation of 300 million people? That surveying 0.0000167% of the US population can give you an accurate representation of the hundreds of minorities, dozens of religions, plethora of social views and multitude of differences in social class/circumstances that make up the US population? Wow i'm impressed - maybe Americans have all integrated into a single cultural after all... *please note the use of sarcasm*

I'm well aware of how a survey done correctly of, for example, 5000 trees in a particular forest could be used to accurately extrapolate the number, types and density of trees across the entire forest, but humans are a distinctly more varied and inconsistent class of sample. Especially when your asking people about there views on something.

I still call fail on this survey - i cannot believe for an instant that you could survey 5000 people across the US and extrapolate that ACCURATELY to represent the entire country.

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It depends how accurate you need to be

There's typically a 3% margin of error (95% confidence level) on such surveys, so the 60 million headline figure probably means between 58 and 62 million, which is near enough for most purposes. Practically every survey result you hear about - voting intentions, support for gov't policies etc - comes from a similar size of sample (in the UK, with a smaller, somewhat more uniform, population it's usually a survey size of 1,000). Read up on 'stratified sampling' on Wikipedia (or your preferred source) - you might learn something.

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yes it can

If you have chosen the 5000 well, then that is a good enough number to get within very few %. Read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sample_size

However the problem is choosing well. The sample has to be a random sample of all USA.

For example, if this was a phone survey then that gets skewed by many factors: many people don't have land lines and they're more likely to be high tech users, heavy dial up users were probably busy when called and people with a life probably told the caller to get stuffed. Time of day impacts greatly: probably a high degree of correlation between Luddites that sit watching TV and being home when the telemarketer calls.

Likewise, a sampling on a street corner only gets you the people that pass by.

Most of these surveys are performed by people who really don't care about the quality. They just want to get n calls so they can finish the survey and go home.

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It's easy

First you have to understand that this was a telephone survey. So in reality the best the statistics can hope for is to represent "interesting" people defined as those who own a phone and are listed on some database, which roughly translates to people listed in the white pages. Needless to say, folks too poor to be "interesting", too impatient to bother answering or otherwise "not normal" don't get counted.

Perhaps I'm blessed but in the last eight or so years since I dropped my land line I have never received a survey call whereas I was sure to get at least one every year beforehand.

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I agree with them...

The internet is dangerous, a waste of time, and full of pornography. Is there any debate about that?

I use broadband, but I like living on the edge. I also like LOLcats.

-dZ.

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Anonymous Coward

"world leadership"

These days "leadership" has been reduced to crossing arbitrary lines first, just so you can claim you were the leader. Brown is fond of this one - he even makes up the lines as he goes, and yet he STILL fails.

When leadership is restored to the idea of doing genuinely inspirational things (and no, all you politicians, that doesn't mean being a blank sheet that people can project their own desires onto just so you can gain power, or claiming you're going to spend ever bigger slices of the money wrestled from the poor taxpayer's pockets on some made-up problem) and giving people the desire to emulate and improve on that, we can start talking about it again. Until then, whenever I hear the word "leadership" I'll just assume it's yet another dick waving competition and ignore it.

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Joke

Ah well, so long as they can afford...

... the booze and the smokes, who needs that pesky inter-web ?

*warning, this post contains wide sweeping statements that may or may not be completely inaccurate, offensive, bigoted and downright rude*

On the affordability issue, sure, if the person is struggling just to feed themselves, totally understandable - if they have kids they need to put through school and money is tight - absolutely - don't have kids, get broadband instead.

But I can bet a significant proportion of those people (and their horrid kids) are fat, lazy, beer swilling, smoke belching TV addicts, or maybe just TV addicts without the fat, beer or smoke ;)

The internet requires that you have the desire to interact with content, rather than just staring at it.

If your not the type of person who wants to interact with the world, but are instead, a brain dead moron, good for you - sit on your couch and let your TV turn your brain to mush - we embrace your actions - keep away from the internet!

I fully understand there are people out there who live massively active lives who will shun the internet - the same type of person, in fact, that would chop of their nose to spite their face.

Then there's the Luddite brigade, but we don't know what they do nor think, because we haven't heard from them since the invention of the Telegraph, so we can count them out of the stats.

In conclusion, if you can't see a reason to use the internet, keep away, we don't want you, your obviously deviants who will poison our minds with your devious filth!

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FAIL

Dialup is the only option

If you don't live in a town or city then, for most of the US, broadband doesn't exist. My in laws live on a farm about 5 miles outside a small town in the South. Thier only option is dial up and the best speed I've every got at their house is 28kb but 14-16kb is the usual maximum speed.

DSL doesn't exist in their area and neither does cable.

But then, who are we kidding - I'm in a city and the best speed my DSL (AT&T) can give me is supposed to be 6Mb - recently it's down to 4Mb when it works and AT&T appear incapable of figuring out why.

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Keeping up appearances

"AT&T appear incapable"

Perhaps it's the reality and not just an appearance.

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Pint

i am sure..

..that they're happy to get their news and reviews from channel 9 KSPIN and the likes, which is why when you meet them and have discussions with them, they reckon that Africa is a place in Texas or Arizona (yes, it's happened to me...)

but then again, i can totally see the point of not wasting time on the webs. if i had a hundred acres and a .22 to play with i'd be plenty amused myself...

besides, on the balance of it, there need to be some idiots OFF the interpipes to cancel out the numberous ones ON the. (the interpipes, that is..).

i know it's not yet lunch time, but sure one one pint of Pride can't hurt before noon, can it?

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Alien

Africa, Texas

From: http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/AA/hra71.html

"AFRICA, TEXAS. Africa is three miles southeast of Center in central Shelby County. This predominantly black community was settled in the last quarter of the nineteenth century by former slaves who cleared the heavily wooded area for farming. "

So in fact THEY WERE RIGHT. We also have a Mars, Venus, Italy, Rome... and a bunch more. Many of these are within a few miles of Dallas. Why do you think Bush was so messed up on foreign policy?

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15million americans think ....

noooooo, the ext line is't what you're expecting

"15million americans think..."

based on a survey of 5,005 people

statistics eh

bullshizzle says I

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Flame

Almost side with them...

' The study says that 15 million Americans think that broadband access is irrelevant, calling the internet "a waste of time" and saying there's no content of interest to them or that they're satisfied with dial-up. '

To a certain extent I can well believe that's perfectly true. Apart from the odd bit of software like a Linux distro or some new Oracle release, quite frankly I download about 3 MB and upload about 2MB each day at home!

I hate Face-Twat-mySpac or whatever it's called and YouTube is full of chavs in Slough, setting fire to each other! Somehow, a world with without Twat-Space-Book and Chav Video Central sounds quite nice actually!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The Fuzzy Wotnot

"YouTube is full of chavs in Slough"

Fairly simple problem there, it seems that you've done a search for "chavs in Slough". Try searching for "soothing classical music" instead.

;)

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Bomb Slough

It's been a long time coming...

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WTF is an "interweb"

I wouldnt use that either.

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