I am attracted to the big picture -- studies of the global diffusion of the Internet. For example, Telegeography tracks the spread of the physical infrastructure in the form of undersea cables and Akami tracks use and traffic in their quarterly reports on the State of the Internet.
Akami's report for the first quarter of 2012 is just out. It is a detailed report, but a couple of big picture items caught my attention.
Akami saw a 6.0% increase in the number of unique IP addresses connecting to their global content distribution network over the previous quarter, and the global average connection speed was 2.6 Mbps.
They also noted the continued growth of mobile data, which passed mobile voice during the fourth quarter of 2009.
Check the full report for a lot more of this sort of thing and to drill down into the details.
For old timers, let me throw in links to a couple of earlier papers on Internet diffusion by my colleagues and me:
An Internet Diffusion Framework, CACM
The State of the Internet: Growth and Gaps, ISOC 2000