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High-Speed Exhibits Regional Growth

  |  March 17, 2004   |  Comments

San Diego marks the first U.S. locale where broadband subscriptions outnumber dial-up.

Though only some 800 miles apart, San Diego, Calif. and the Albuquerque/Santa Fe, N.M. area are at opposite ends of the speed spectrum. Research from comScore Networks revealed that San Diego was the first major market where broadband subscriptions outnumbered narrowband connections, while the New Mexico area leads in dial-up Internet access.

Top Broadband and Narrowband Markets
Locale Broadband Narrowband
San Diego, CA 52% 48%
Boston, MA 50% 50%
New York, NY 49% 51%
Providence, RI 47% 53%
Kansas City 46% 54%
Detroit, MI 45% 55%
Tampa/St. Pete, FL 45% 55%
Orlando, FL 44% 56%
San Fran/Oakland/San Jose, CA 44% 56%
Los Angeles, CA 44% 56%
Albuquerque/Santa Fe, NM 24% 76%
Grand Rapids, MI 30% 70%
Harrisburg, PA 30% 70%
Indianapolis, IN 30% 70%
Sacramento/Stockton, CA 31% 69%
Birmingham, AL 32% 68%
Nashville, TN 32% 68%
Louisville, KY 33% 67%
Memphis, TN 34% 66%
St. Louis, MO 34% 66%
Source: comScore Networks

An early 2004 survey of 1,600 U.S. households, conducted by Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG), found that 28 percent of the New England respondents subscribed to broadband; 27 percent in the Pacific region, and 24 percent in the Mid-Atlantic region. The lowest areas of broadband penetration were the Great Lakes and Farm Belt at 15 percent.

"Broadband penetration continues to being strongly correlated with households' income, therefore, cities, states and regions with higher per capita incomes generally lead the way in broadband penetration," says Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst of LRG.

LRG also found that in suburban areas, 29 percent of all households said that they subscribed to broadband Internet, compared to 21 percent in urban areas and 10 percent in rural areas. Like Pew Internet & American Life Project's study of rural Internet users, broadband is not always a connection option for residents of some remote areas.

"Availability is absolutely is a factor – while 87 percent of online subscribers in urban areas and 84 percent in suburbs are aware of the availability of broadband, just 58 percent in rural areas say that some form of broadband is available," said Leichtman.

Nationally, LRG found that one-third of online households are connecting via broadband, resulting in more than 24 million high-speed subscribers. Roughly 9.1 million are DSL subscribers, compared to 15.5 million cable modem subscribers.

While LRG reports that 2003 was a record-breaking year for broadband subscriptions, with 7.4 million new high-speed customers, Parks Associates found that interest in broadband may be waning. The firm found that only 31 percent of U.S. households are considering an upgrade to broadband over the next 12 months, compared to 49 percent in 2002.

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