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The High Costs of a Slow Internet Connection

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A slow Internet connection could be costing you $8,000 a year in lost bargains. High-speed broadband allows consumers to browse more sites in less time (obviously) and seek out bigger bargains, according to a new study released by the Internet Innovation Alliance, a Washington-based non-profit industry group. So the next time you’re waiting for a page to load take a moment to imagine what you could do with all that loot. How about a fancy seven-day trip for two to Morocco? Or a nifty spin in Mitsuishis’s new electric car?

To be fair, round-the-clock access to online shopping also makes it easy to splurge. But that could be offset by the ability to instantly comparison shop can offer the potential for great savings. (The study says you can save 30% on $391 of over-the-counter drugs, for instance.) But all the bargain hunting could backfire. As Pay Dirt reported, people tend to spend more if they think they are getting a bargain. Experts advise consumers to shop smart. That is, separate the “need” (your weekly grocery shop) from the “want” (your third pedicure in a week).

The popularity of Groupon and LivingSocial has also helped consumer cut their spending in half, says Nick Delgado, principal of Chicago-based wealth management firm Dignitas and author of the IIA’s study, “The Real Cost of the Digital Divide in 2011.”

Some 66% of American now have a broadband high-speed internet connection at home, a figure that is little changed from the 63% in 2009, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Nearly 100 million Americans, many in rural communities or lower-incomes urban areas, don’t have broadband at home, and 24 million Americans don’t have any access at all to broadband services in their local community, according to the Federal Communications Commission

The average annual household spending on housing, food, gasoline and clothing quoted in the study is gleaned from the government’s annual “Consumer Expenditure Survey,” which was released last month by the U.S. Department of Labor. For a household that spends $5,000 on entertainment, they can save nearly 50% by using a faster broadband connection, Delgado says.

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    • Demarchand Ok sure, thats a neat idea Finally allow 2.4GHz band communications on fhtilgs, since they have never been proven to cause any kind of interference with flight communications [which are not typically in the microwave band]. And now that consumers want it so badly, I’m sure they will be charged $10 USD per minute [or maybe by per KB] to go wireless Anyone who lacks the ability to circumvent the toll based access points is gonna get wallet-raped.Stinks of wait until users will do anything to get out of the stone age, then charge them whatever we feel like it’ tactics to me.I’ll just be sniffing all of the trade secrets and must by from SkyMall NOW’ credit card information on the in-flight network. March 22, 2008 | 3:28 am

    • You didn’t tell us what slow means, which makes this article useless It would be most helpful if you were more specific. Couldn’t help but notice the Ipad pic as well. Who are you working for?

About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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