Broadband Population Growth Continues

The number of users migrating from dial-up to broadband access continues to grow, and the momentum will continue through the end of the decade. Two reports released by JupiterResearch, “Portrait of the Online Population: 2004-2010,” and “JupiterResearch Broadband Forecast: Competitive Pricing and Increased Availability Speed the Decline of Dial-Up,” project trends toward further adoption of high-speed Web access.

Broadband reached 32 million households, just below half of residential online accounts in 2004. That figure is expected to grow to 88 million, or 78 percent, by the end of 2010.

Now that broadband is in half of US homes, more dial-up users will migrate to broadband. “Companies with Web sites now feel more comfortable to build richer sites,” said Joseph Laszlo, research director at JupiterResearch.

The cable versus DSL war will continue, with no clear winner yet in sight. Jupiter expects DSL will continue to trail cable, requiring it to remain proactive in deploying new services. Other technologies will have room to operate in the background of cable and DSL, but not have traction to become major providers.

The report points out online population gaps among seniors, kids, African-Americans, Hispanics and low-income households. These are expected to narrow, with seniors the fastest-growing y age group. In 2004, the online senior population was almost 10 million; by 2010, their ranks are expected to swell to over 20 million.

Laszlo said the online population gaps exist for different reasons. Seniors lack technology confidence, using the Web primarily for email. Economics may be more to blame for African Americans lagging behind in Web usage. Laszlo cites AOL and Earthlink programs that subsidize PCs for users who sign up with the ISPs. “Any program that can provide a PC at a lower cost will help,” he observes.

More and more users will have Web access from multiple locations. By 2010, 65 million online adults will be able to access the Web from both work and home.

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