Trends Report

Consumers Want To Surf Untethered

But Public Wireless Access Won't Live Up To Consumers' Expectations

February 29th, 2008
Sally Cohen
With contributors:
Michelle de Lussanet , Ashara Giordanelli


Use of the wireless Internet is growing: Today, 22% of US consumers go online wirelessly outside the home, compared with 16% of US online households a year ago. This growth is slated to continue, as nearly half of consumers say that they would like to surf untethered in the future. While the mounting interest in wireless access is due in part to increasing adoption of wireless home networks — 25% of consumers use the wireless Internet at home today — the rising availability of public wireless access is also a contributing factor. Still, while consumers express a desire to be able to access the Internet at hotels, libraries, and airports, the current reality of public wireless as offered by hotspot providers, municipalities, or private businesses won't live up to their expectations about price, security, and parity with wireline broadband. To ensure that they gain and retain users, product managers should raise awareness and set realistic expectations among consumers.

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