Doing some research for a panel session at the Collaborative Technologies Conference 2006 later this week, and stumbled across some new stats on US Internet adoption from Pew Internet: Internet Penetration and Impact by Mary Madden:
While the percentage of Americans who say they use the internet has continued to fluctuate slightly, our latest survey, fielded February 15 – April 6, 2006 shows that fully 73% of respondents (about 147 million adults) are internet users, up from 66% (about 133 million adults) in our January 2005 survey. And the share of Americans who have broadband connections at home has now reached 42% (about 84 million), up from 29% (about 59 million) in January 2005.
150 million Americans, nearly 75% of the population, use the Internet now, and 42% have broadband.
O brave new world, that has such people in it!
-The Tempest, by William Shakespeare
Remember that in The Tempest, Shakespeare was playing Miranda's innocence in the line above against the admonitions of Prospero, her father, who responded "'Tis new to thee" -- perhaps suggesting that this brave new world might not be all sunshine and flowers.
Today, I fall on the side of Miranda, and see the great opportunities ahead with the majority of Americans migrating online. But I expect we will continue to hear the Prosperos out there who will highlight the dangers of the Web, and seek thereby to control it, and through it, us.