The Wired and the Diswired

There’s no shortage of reasons why people get Internet access. The chart here, showing data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, details the ways Americans use it. Still, a small but significant number of folks—about 3.3 million as of last September—once had access but have given it up. Why? The NTIA found 22 percent of them saying it’s too expensive. Fourteen percent lacked a computer; 11 percent could get access elsewhere. But 20 percent said they simply don’t want it. Perhaps they’d rather watch TV, shop or read the paper. In a study by the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project, these were identified as activities that occupy less of people’s time once they’re wired. One-quarter of online adults said the Internet has cut into their TV-viewing time; 18 percent said it has reduced the time they spend in stores; and 14 percent said it has cut the time they spend reading the paper.