Wireless Internet Access Becoming More Common

More than one-third of Internet users have connected to the Internet wirelessly at home, work or elsewhere--up from 22% two years ago, according to a new study.

A Pew Internet Project report released today also showed that 27% of Internet users have used a laptop, cell phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) to access the Web wirelessly from someplace other than home or work. One-fifth (20%) have gone online via wireless networks at home, double the number in January 2005.

When it comes to devices, a quarter now say they have an Internet-enabled cell phone and 13% have a PDA with a wireless Internet connection. Laptops remain the most common wireless Internet devices, with 80% owning notebook computers equipped for that purpose.

Two years ago, Pew asked respondents only whether they had logged on to the Internet using a wireless device, without focusing on which types of hardware.

What does the typical wireless Internet user look like? According to the Pew data, he's most likely to be a college-educated white male age 39 to 40, with a salary over $75,000.

Wireless Internet users are more likely to be e-mail and news junkies. The Pew study found that 72% of wireless users check e-mail on a given day--compared to 54% of all Internet users--and 46% get news online compared to 31% of all users.

"The boundaries between checking e-mail on a portable device for work and or personal purposes can be very blurry; having such work-driven access may foster greater frequency of personal e-mailing or other kinds of online activities," stated the report.

The findings were based on a December 2006 survey of 2,373 adults, of which 1,623 were Internet users. Half of those received questions about wireless Internet use.

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