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Study: Broadband usage growing quicker than studies show

STARKVILLE — Broadband Internet usage in Mississippi is catching up to the national average more quickly than recent national studies report, according to a statewide survey conducted by the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University.

Information on this Internet and broadband use survey is available at srdc.msstate.edu/ebeat/reports.html.

Reports on the Mississippi Broadband Survey, conducted by telephone from May to July 2011, compare Internet usage in Mississippi households versus the United States average; examine the significance of demographic factors, such as age, income and education in Internet usage; and describe the availability of Internet services throughout the state.

“Mississippi households are gaining ground, relative to the nation, in terms of accessing the Internet from home or other locations,” said Lionel “Bo” Beaulieu, director of the SRDC. “Expanding the availability of high-capacity broadband service for Mississippians may be a worthwhile investment for state and local leaders, given its potential contribution to economic development, education and health.

“These briefs are designed to share findings from the survey with community leaders, legislators and educators in hopes that they can better understand where critical investments in broadband access may be most needed across the state,” he said.

Beaulieu said the survey showed the most significant gaps in Internet adoption depend on education and age and increased availability of broadband services in rural areas is needed. Other groups, including those with low incomes, little education or past age 65 also need greater broadband access.

The survey was conducted by the Mississippi State University Extension Service and the SRDC, in partnership with the Office of the Governor and the Mississippi Broadband Connect Coalition.

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