October 6, 2008

College Students Wi-Fi Has Become a Fixture on Campus; 73 Percent Say Wi-Fi Helps Them Get Better Grades

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Wi-Fi is an integral part of today's college experience, changing the way students study, interact with professors, and socialize. In a survey released today by the Wi-Fi Alliance and Wakefield Research, nine out of 10 college students in the United States say Wi-Fi access is as essential to education as classrooms and computers, and nearly three in five say they wouldn't go to a college that doesn't have free Wi-Fi. What's more, fully 79 percent said that without Wi-Fi access, college would be a lot harder.

"Wi-Fi has become a universal expectation among college students, and their attitudes towards technology are a good indicator of broad changes underway in how we as a society learn, work and communicate," said Edgar Figueroa, executive director of the Wi-Fi Alliance, the global trade organization representing the Wi-Fi industry. "Young adults expect access to information with unprecedented immediacy. Whether they are chasing a detail that will help them look smart in the middle of a class discussion, or are looking up a new friend on the Internet within minutes of meeting them -- Wi-Fi enables the flexibility and freedom to access information from just about anywhere."

College prospects and their parents take into consideration many factors when choosing the right school -- and technology has increasingly become a major deciding factor. Sixty percent of those polled agree that widely available Wi-Fi on campus is an indication that a school cares about its students.

"Wi-Fi is expected as part of today's campus experience both from an educational perspective as well as from a social perspective. Students expect Wi-Fi so that they can learn anytime and anywhere on campus as well as always be available for friends and family," said Stan Schatt, vice president and research director at ABI Research. "We expect to see Wi-Fi penetration in U.S. universities at 99% by 2013."

For today's students, getting connected no longer means reserving a station at the computer lab or going to the library. Undergrads are logging in at coffee shops and restaurants (55 percent), in parks (47 percent), and even in their cars (24 percent).

Other survey findings:

-- If forced to choose, nearly half of respondents (48 percent) would give up beer before giving up Wi-Fi.

-- Seventy-two percent would rather wear their school rival's team colors for a day.

-- More than two in five (44 percent) used Wi-Fi to get a head start on an assignment before a class was finished.

-- More than half have checked Facebook(TM) or MySpace(TM) and sent or received e-mail while using their laptop in class. Just under half sent instant messages to a friend during class.

-- Many students reported that the availability of Wi-Fi influences their choice of coffee shop (52 percent), bookstore (42 percent), and restaurant (33 percent).

In conjunction with the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wakefield Research surveyed 501 U.S. college students in September 2008. The sampling variation in this survey is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

About the Wi-Fi Alliance

The Wi-Fi Alliance is a global, non-profit industry association of more than 300 member companies devoted to promoting the growth of wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs). With the aim of enhancing the user experience for wireless portable, mobile, and home entertainment devices, the Wi-Fi Alliance's testing and certification programs help ensure the interoperability of WLAN products based on the IEEE 802.11 specification. Since the introduction of the Wi-Fi Alliance's certification program in March 2000, more than 4,800 products have been designated as Wi-Fi CERTIFIED(TM), encouraging the expanded use of Wi-Fi products and services across the consumer and enterprise markets.

Wi-Fi Alliance

CONTACT: Karl Stetson of Edelman, +1-206-268-2215,[email protected], for Wi-Fi Alliance

Web site: http://www.wi-fi.org/