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1.4 How Do People Access the Internet?

Learning Objective

  1. Understand the various ways in which people can access and connect to the Internet.

People connect to the Internet and access content in many different ways. When it comes to the physical connection to the Internet, the market presents a number of options:

  • Dial-upA form of Internet access that uses telephone lines. The user’s computer or router uses an attached modem connected to a telephone line to dial into an Internet service provider’s (ISP) node to establish a modem-to-modem link, which is then used to route Internet protocol (IP) packets between the user’s equipment and the host’s.
  • 3GRefers to third-generation mobile and wireless communication. 3G systems promise faster communications services, including voice, fax, and Internet, anytime and anywhere with seamless global roaming. (third-generation mobile and wireless communication)
  • Wi-FiAny of a family of wireless local area network (LAN) data standards (IEEE 802.11) used fairly ubiquitously for corporate and home connectivity. Also available as hotspots in public areas such as cafes and airport terminals, either for free or for a one-time-use charge or subscription fee. and WiMAXA wireless wide area network (WAN) standard (IEEE 802.16) designed to provide portable (eventually mobile) wireless broadband access. Single WiMAX antennas can provide coverage over large physical areas, making deployment potentially very cost effective. Although not widely available as of 2007, it is sometimes considered a potential competitor to cable modems and digital subscriber line (DSL) for residential broadband.
  • BroadbandAn Internet connection that delivers a relatively high bit rate, that is, any bit rate at or above 256 kilobits per second (kbps). Cable modems and DSL all offer broadband connections.
  • ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line)A DSL line where the upload speed is different from the download speed. Usually the download speed is much greater.

And that list goes on. The devices people use vary from mobile phones and small handheld devices to personal notebooks and desktop computers. The environment that people are in when they access the Internet also differs:

  • At home
  • At the office or place of work
  • In libraries and education centers
  • In Internet cafés and coffee shops

Not only do these environmental factors affect how people use the Internet, but also their reasons for using the Internet can have an effect on how they interact online.

For some people, it is primarily a communication channel, and their online activity is focused on their e-mail in-box, while for others it may be a research channel, with search engines playing a large role in their online experience. Having such a diverse audience means that there are many channels available to marketers when it comes to eMarketing.

So what does this all have to do with marketing? Marketing is about conversations, and the Internet has become a hub of conversations. The connected nature of the Internet allows us to follow and track these conversations and provides entry points for all parties. What follows in this book are ways of conversing with potential and existing customers using the Internet.

Key Takeaways

  • People can access the Internet in a variety of ways.
  • People access the Internet in a variety of places.
  • People use the Internet in many different ways (e.g., for e-mail or research).


  1. Marketing is about conversation. List a few examples of online conversations you have noticed as a user. Name some of the brands you have seen engage in online conversation.