People Choosing to Stay Offline

By Cherise Forno

Three out of 10 Americans do not have Internet access because
they cannot afford it or they have no desire to use the
Internet.

According to a national technology study conducted by the market
research and consulting firm, Parks Associates, 29 percent of all
U.S. households do not have Internet access. People from these 31
million homes do not plan to get Internet service in the next year
because of their limited finances or lack of interest in the
Internet.

“I had a roommate for two years who didn’t own a computer,” said
Cindy Oppenheim, a third-year anthropology student. “I don’t know
how she did it. When my computer crashed I was without it for two
months and I was miserable. I was so happy when I got it back.”

Members from 44 percent of these homes say they are not
interested in anything the Internet has to offer, and only 22
percent say they cannot afford a computer or the cost of Internet
service. Another 17 percent of those surveyed said they were not
sure how to use the Internet.

“If people don’t want to have the Internet in their house,
that’s their choice,” said Andrew Maltese, a fourth-year philosophy
student. “But having Internet access is becoming more important in
today’s world.”

While some people cannot afford a computer or Internet service,
the majority of those without the Internet do so voluntarily. Some
people who refrain from using the Internet or having it in their
home place more value on traditional modes of getting information
such as books and newspapers.

“Physically touching a book and opening the pages of a book
provides a different experience than simply reading from a screen,”
said Oppenheim. “I don’t think we should ever get rid of libraries,
books and newspapers.”

Oppenheim thinks both books and computers are important
tools.

“We are dependent on the Internet in some ways, but I’m still
grateful for what it provides us,” said Oppenheim.

Although the majority of Americans have Internet access in their
homes, there are still many who have not followed the trend.

“The industry continues to chip away at the core of
non-subscribers but has a ways to go,” said John Barrett, director
of research at Parks Associates, in a press release.

Experts claim more people will be likely to use the Internet for
entertainment purposes rather than necessity.

“Entertainment applications will be the key,” said Barrett in
the press release. “If anything will pull in the holdouts, it’s
going to be applications that make the Internet more akin to pay
TV.”

Cherise Forno can be reached by e-mail at news@thepolypost.com
or by phone at (909) 869-3747.

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