A new survey by Bolt, a youth-oriented content site with 4.5 million registered users, offers a glimpse into the bright future of the Internet. The site recently asked readers about their Web usage. Turned out, 70% of 15- to 22-year-olds accessed the Web with a broadband connection in the fourth quarter. That’s a giant, 11% jump over the third quarter.

This is a big deal. Lots of companies today, from large telcos like SBC to tiny start-ups, are investing billions into new broadband technologies, such as the ability for users to download movies onto their TVs. The big question in everyone’s mind is, Will people actually use these technologies? Today, a little over 54% of U.S. households use broadband connections, according to WebSiteOptimization.com. But most still use the Web to simply access their e-mail.

A much greater usage of high-speed Internet among youths could be a sign that broadband will continue its rapid march – and that many new broadband-related technologies and services will, eventually, find their markets. After all, young people have often been the first adopters of new technologies. And they are increasingly using the Web to blog, post photos and watch movies online, according to comments on the Bolt study from research consultancy eMarketer. In fact, they are opting to spend time online vs. in front of the tube: 55% of the Bolt study’s 472 respondents said they are watching less TV than a year ago. So, perhaps, the answer to that big and burning question – will anyone will use emerging broadband technologies? – is a resounding “yes.”

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