More than a third of internet users in the United States have used a wireless connection, hinting at deepening connectedness to the online world, according to a new study.

About 34 per cent of U.S. internet users surveyed late last year have used a laptop computer, handheld personal digital assistant (PDA) or cellphone to go online or check e-mail through a Wi-Fi or cellular network from home, work or elsewhere, The Pew Internet and American Life Project said in a study released Sunday.

The figure, based on data collected in December 2006, represents a recent increase in wireless internet use. In March 2006, 30 per cent of internet users asked whether they use a wireless device to go online said they had, compared to February 2004, when 22 per cent of respondents said they had.

U.S. WIRELESS INTERNET USE
USAGE All internet users Age <30 Age 30-49
Anywhere 34% 37% 32%
Not home/work 27% 32% 24%
Home 20% 25% -
Work 17% 16% 18%
Have wireless PDA 13% 17% 15%

Adult internet users under the age of 30 were more likely to use wireless devicesfor online accessthan those between the ages of 30-49, the study found.

Wireless users have deeper links to the internet than other users, especially when looking at e-mail use and news consumption, the non-profit research organization's reportsaid.

More wireless users (72 per cent) check their e-mail daily than do home broadband users (63 per cent). That suggests a need for work e-mail access is driving similar usage for personal e-mail and other online activity, leading to a new sort of lifestyle, the study notes.

Overall, about 54 per cent of internet users check their e-mail daily.

Similarly, more wireless users (46 per cent) get their news online daily, as compared to home broadband users (38 per cent) and internet users overall (31 per cent), the Pew study found.

Those statistics are significant since most wireless users — about 80 per cent — have broadband internet connections at home, according to the study.

The study was based on randomly dialed telephone interviews done between Nov. 30 and Dec. 30, 2006, from a sample of 2,373 adults in the continental United States. The final response rate was 27 per cent.