Broadband Access to Increase in Workplace

The workplace has always been the best place to reach Internet users with a broadband connection, and that will not be changing anytime soon, according to Jupiter Research, which found the number of people with at-work access to broadband connectivity will more than double from 24 million in 2000 to 55 million by 2005.

Analysts in Jupiter’s “Broadband & Wireless Report” warn, however, that companies offering broadband applications to the at-work audience will continue to face constraints even as overall corporate broadband penetration rates increase.

“Although the projected increase in at-work broadband access means a much larger audience and greater appeal to advertisers, employees with access to broadband are not a panacea. Jupiter foresees some enduring technology-related constraints because the average connectivity speed of individual users on shared networks will remain roughly equivalent to today,” said Joe Laszlo, senior analyst at Jupiter Research. “Companies deploying broadband content and applications must tailor their offerings to fit the time of day and usage constraints that affect at-work audience behavior patterns. This means short-form content, unobtrusive applications and programs that will appeal to the at-work multi-tasker.”

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The projected increase in the at-work broadband audience signals the rise of the “multimodal” consumer — the segment of the online audience that uses the Internet across several different access mediums, including dial-up at home, broadband at work, and wireless devices in between. According to the report, companies targeting “multimodal” consumers now face the challenge of delivering the right content or application to the right device at the right time.
  • Although only 57 percent of 42.7 million at-work Internet users in the US currently make use of high-speed connectivity in the workplace, Jupiter analysts expect 87 percent of employees with Internet connectivity to be using a broadband connection by 2005.
  • As broadband usage in the workplace doubles, Jupiter analysts predict that at-work dial-up access will drop significantly from approximately 18.5 million individuals in 1999 to 8.1 million in 2005.
  • Even though 24 million individuals access the Internet through broadband connections in the workplace, only 8.6 million use broadband in the home.

“As broadband penetrates the workplace and becomes a more mainstream technology in the home, expect to see a sizable overlap between the broadband home and work audiences,” Laszlo said. “Companies that aim to reach the work broadband audience should consider how they can extend their services to remain useful beyond the workday — these are the companies that will come out on top.”

For its report, Jupiter defined broadband as Internet access speeds of at least 256 kbps, therefore excluding ISDN services. The definition also requires persistent connectivity, or access without substantial delay in dialing up or establishing a connection to an ISP.

More small businesses are using broadband for their Internet connection, according to a report by eMarketer. More than 1 million US businesses will turn to xDSL technologies for broadband Internet access within the next three years, found eMarketer’s “eCommerce: B2B Report.” During the same period, the number of businesses accessing the Internet will rise from 4.5 million in year end 2000 to more than 6.7 million by 2003.

“As e-commerce activity increases, many small businesses will be upgrading to faster access speeds in order to accommodate the greater demand for bandwidth,” said eMarketer Senior Business Analyst, Steve Butler. “Research has found that the use of applications service providers (ASPs) will be a significant driver of broadband adoption as well.”

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