LANSING — Mobile broadband gives users the freedom to access the Web while not being tethered to a desk. This ability to access music, news, and social networking tools is attracting many new converts, as a growing number of Americans go online with their smartphones.
As part of its 2011 Residential Technology Assessment, www.connectmi.org/survey-results/residentiaConnect Michigan surveyed 1,200 Michigan adults to examine how they are using mobile broadband and how it is affecting the way they live, work, and play. This research, complied in a report called Mobile Broadband Usage in Michigan, http://www.connectmi.org/sites/default/files/connected-nation/Michigan/files/mi_mobile_usage_final.pdf, shows that a growing number of Michiganders are relying on their mobile devices to connect to the Internet for a variety of uses.
According to the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, there are currently over 47,000 people working in Michigan in a wide variety of mobile/wireless related positions in over 2,300 companies which range in size from one-person entrepreneurial ventures to enterprise-level firms, and these numbers are rapidly increasing.
Said Linda Daichendt, executive director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan: “Literally every industry is being positively impacted by mobile-wireless technologies in some way, and that impact is only going to increase as we move forward. As mobile broadband capabilities continue to expand in the state, so too will the positive economic impact of these technologies on Michigan’s businesses and residents.”
Some key findings from the report include the following:
* Across the state of Michigan, 36 percent of residents age 18 or older access mobile broadband. This represents approximately 2.7 million Michigan adults who go online via their cell phones, on a laptop, or tablet computer through a cellular network.
* More than four out of five mobile broadband users in Michigan (81 percent) subscribe to home broadband service, meaning that approximately 525,000 Michigan adults rely on their cell phones or mobile devices for Internet service, rather than subscribing to home broadband service.
* More than one-half of Michigan adults age 34 or younger say they access broadband via mobile services. This is nearly four times greater than the share of adults age 55 or older who access mobile broadband.
* Over one-half of African American and Hispanic adults in Michigan say they stay connected to the Internet using mobile broadband services, suggesting that mobile broadband may present an affordable alternative to fixed broadband service among these populations.
* Older Michiganders, rural residents, households without children, and adults who are not employed are more likely to say they never use their cell phones to access the Internet, even though they subscribe to a service that allows them to do so.
As the designated entity for broadband mapping and planning in the state of Michigan, Connect Michigan is a public-private partnership between the Michigan Public Service Commission and Connected Nation to work with local governments, businesses, and citizens in the goal of increasing broadband service in the state’s underserved areas. For more information about what Connect Michigan is doing to accelerate technology in Michigan’s communities, visit www.connectmi.org.