Home Why Buy the Cow? Open Wi-Fi Networks Slow Broadband Adoption

Why Buy the Cow? Open Wi-Fi Networks Slow Broadband Adoption

We’ve all seen it and we’ve all done it – you’re at a friends house with your laptop, and they don’t have wireless, so you take a look and sign on to the nearest unsecured wireless network. No biggie, but certainly you wouldn’t rely on this open network for all your Internet needs, right?

A report by analyst firm Mintel released this week claims that “Wi-Fi pirating” could be a main reason for the slow growth of broadband adoption over recent years.

According to Mintel, “home Internet services saw revenues increase by only 3% over the past five years”, but surely Internet use itself has been on the rise. The firm found that 72% say that they have Internet access at home,  but only 56% report subscribing to a service at home. Where does the discrepancy come from?

“Home Internet penetration barely moved from 2006 to 2009. The slow growth in the era of Facebook, Pandora and YouTube shows that people are accessing the Internet from home through different methods, even if they haven’t paid for access themselves,” said Billy Hulkower, a senior analyst at Mintel. “Younger consumers appear especially likely to use a neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal instead of subscribing at home as they are more likely to know how to find and connect to their neighbors’ service.”

Beyond these “young consumer”, guess who else appear most likely to steal Wi-Fi – those households bringing in more than $75,000 a year.

As part of the same report, Mintel says it found that cell phones and mobile devices have more than doubled from 2005 to 2009 as methods for home Internet access, while dial-up still hangs on with just under 10% of the respondents.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.