March 23, 2006 2:53 PM PST

Study: More readers turning to the Web for news

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As broadband subscriptions flourish, more people are using the Internet as their primary source for news, a new study has shown.

According to a study released Wednesday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, more than 50 million Americans per day used the Internet as their primary news source in 2005. That's up from 27 million in 2002. In fact, checking the daily news is the third most popular activity on the Internet, the study found.

Pew attributed the increase to the rise in broadband availability and subscriptions in the home. Since 2002, the number of home broadband subscribers has risen from 20 million to 70 million, the group said.

While 65 percent of dial-up users and 57 percent of broadband subscribers still use local and network television to get their daily news, it is no longer their exclusive source.

Of broadband users, 46 percent overall used the Internet as a primary news source, compared with only 26 percent of dial-up subscribers, Pew said. The study further compared broadband and dial-up users within the same age groups to avoid the usual generational variable and found similar results.

Pew also found that there are 29 million so-called high-powered broadband users--early broadband adopters who use the Internet frequently--in the U.S. Of those consumers, an overwhelming 71 percent use the Internet as a primary daily news source.

This is significant because early adopters of technology, according to the Pew report, can be good indicators of future behavior in the general population.

The Pew study was conducted Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, 2005 and surveyed 3,011 adult Americans.

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