Nielsen//NetRatings reveals that the largest broadband markets achieved significant audience gains of at least 48 percent year-over-year in their respective high-speed populations this past April.
Overall, more than 25.2 million surfers at-home accessed the Internet via cable modem, DSL, ISDN or LAN last month as compared to 15.9 million individuals in April 2001, increasing 58 percent year-over-year.
“Sixty-five percent of the top broadband metropolitan areas posted robust growth in their high speed populations, signaling that, while some barriers exist to broadband expansion such as increasing costs, there is healthy room for additional growth and adoption of broadband,” said TS Kelly, director and principal analyst, NetRatings. “The largest broadband cities continue to grow.”
|Top 20 Broadband Cities, April 2002|
|Local Market||Unique Audience
|Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, April 2002|
|*Denotes local market is among the top 20 fastest growing broadband markets.|
Moving from home broadband to professional usage, research from In-Stat/MDR shows that small business users account for nearly 34 percent of business broadband subscribers (DSL and cable), with expectations of increasing to nearly 40 percent by 2006.
Though the research shows that there are roughly twice as many cable modems as there are DSL lines in use by small businesses, the price disparity between these two classes of service is quite dramatic. In-Stat/MDR estimates that small businesses spent just over $331 million on cable modem services in 2001, a bit more than one-third of estimated DSL expenditures of nearly $1 billion. By the end of this year, these small firms are expected to invest roughly $800 million on cable modem services, showing significant growth, but this pales in comparison to expected expenditures of more than $1.5 billion on DSL at that time.
In-Stat/MDR believes that the price difference can be attributed to the fact that cable modems are found in the home, where they do not command much of a price premium, even for business users in this (or any other) market. DSL, in contrast, is most likely to be deployed in commercial locations in this and other markets, where monthly price premiums can reach over $100.
Leichtman Research Group, Inc. takes a look at the overall high-speed picture, documenting an increase of 6.6 million to nearly 12 million in U.S. broadband subscriptions, with nearly identical growth in cable and DSL connections.
“Five million new subscribers in a year is a major accomplishment for the broadband industry as a whole,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The challenges ahead for both cable and DSL providers are to find ways to continue to grow the subscriber base, and to add new services for existing customers.”
The research firm sees year-to-year subscriber growth for cable at 78 percent, and DSL increasing by 79 percent. However, because the top cable providers began with a larger customer base, cable added almost twice as many subscribers as the major residential DSL providers. In the past year, the top cable companies added over 3.4 million broadband Internet subscribers compared to nearly 1.8 million broadband subscribers added by the four major DSL providers over the same time period.
|Broadband Growth in the U.S., Q1 2002|
|High Speed Subscribers||1 Year Ago||Net Adds|
|Total Top Cable||7,780,076||4,371,476||3,408,600|
|Total Top DSL||4,063,000||2,274,000||1,789,000|
|Source: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
All data from Q1 2002, except Adelphia, Mediacom, Insight, Cable One from Q4 2001
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