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Minnesota turning to mobile Internet technology

Minnesotans are becoming increasingly mobile in their use of the Internet, a new survey by Connect Minnesota has found.

Just over half of adults in Minnesota now use a smartphone or mobile wireless service for a laptop or tablet computer to access the Internet, according to the study.

In 2011, an estimated 39 percent of adult Minnesotans used mobile wireless technology.

It’s a sign of the increasing role that mobile broadband is playing in how Minnesotans get online, said Bill Hoffman, state program manager for Connect Minnesota.

“As we look ahead, I think mobile broadband will continue to be an integral part of Minnesota’s broadband landscape,” Hoffman said.

The survey was conducted in late 2012 as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program.

Responses were collected from 1,201 residential households across the state.

Among the key findings:

- Of the survey participants who used mobile Internet and subscribed to home broadband service, 13 percent said they used their home broadband service less often now that they have mobile Internet.

- Those who used mobile Internet but did not subscribe to a traditional home broadband service were younger, had a lower household median income and were more likely to live in rural areas of the state than those who had traditional home broadband.

- Wanting to access the Internet while away from home was cited as the main reason for using a mobile Internet service.

- Of the survey respondents who subscribed to mobile Internet service, nearly four out of 10 said their plan came with a data cap, or restriction on how much data they can use. About one in three of those with data caps also said they had gone over their monthly data limit at least once in the past year. Suburban residents were more likely than urban or rural users to exceed their monthly data limit.

- Among those who did not subscribe to the Internet on their cell phone, the leading reason was that they didn’t want or didn’t need mobile Internet service.