SDN Blog

Internet use trends make uptime more important than ever

Posted on Monday, July 20, 2015 in Broadband Internet

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Email and the Internet are the most important communications and informational tools used by people who work online.

That’s not just my opinion. It’s a statistical reality reported by the highly reputable Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan organization based in Washington, D.C. Pew Research conducts polling and demographic research on issues, attitudes and trends that shape the United States and the world.

In December 2014, Pew Research released the results of a survey in which employed adults in the United States were asked about the importance of digital technology to their work lives. Email and the Internet were identified as the most important communications and informational tools.

Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said email was “very important” to their job, and 54 percent said the same about the Internet. More surprisingly, perhaps, landlines ranked higher in importance than cellphones or smartphones.

Social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can serve purposes that go beyond fun, but they don’t get much respect as important work tools: Only 4 percent of those surveyed identified social networking sites as “very important.”

Even so, the collective importance of the Internet to American commerce is difficult to overstate.

“Digital technology is ubiquitous in American workplaces,” according to the Pew report. “Computers have colonized substantial portions of work activities from organizing the shipment of washing machines to assisting surgeons in operating rooms.”

The central role that digital technology has carved out in American commerce is remarkable, especially when you consider that the World Wide Web is only about 26 years old.

The steadily increasing use of digital technology underscores the importance of keeping Internet systems up and running, which is a specialty of SDN Communications, the host of this blog.

Sioux Falls-based SDN provides broadband connectivity and related communications services to businesses and institutions throughout the region. The company is proud of the uptime that it provides clients. SDN customers enjoy an uptime rate of more than 99.9 percent. That translates to about five minutes and 15 seconds of downtime per year, which is about as close to perfection as manmade technology can get.

I’ve had personal experience with the frustrations that spotty Internet service can provide. A few months ago, Internet service to my home shut down several times over a period of weeks, repeatedly disrupting my schedule. My residential Internet provider (not SDN) eventually tracked down the problem and fixed it. Apparently a squirrel was to blame.

The fact that a rodent can significantly damage above-ground cable is discomforting, considering the remarkable advances in technology in recent years and the continuing growth of Internet usage.

In an earlier report in 2014, Pew Research released the results of a survey that recapped an astonishing trend line. Eighty-seven percent of American adults were found to use the Internet. That was up from 14 percent in 1995.

Internet use is fairly evenly divided between men and women, and between people in rural and urban areas. Not surprisingly, young people use the Internet more than older people, and people with more education and higher income use it more than people with less education and income.

Most American adults (90 percent) have a cellphone, and more than half of them (58 percent) have a smartphone. But only a third of mobile phone users say their phone is their primary path to the Internet. Desktops and laptops still rule, though I suspect that will change with time. Mobility appears to be the wave of the future.

Regardless of how Americans choose to plug in, count on this: SDN will keep trying to improve the pack-leading way it protects Internet service for businesses.

For more information about broadband connectivity and other communications services offered by SDN, see SDN's website or call 800-247-1442.