Broadband Still Making Converts in the US

A survey of technology in American households by Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI) has found more broadband Internet connections and fewer telephone connections. More evidence that broadband, and the way it revolutionizes media consumption, are gaining ground in the US.

The Fall 2000 Ownership Report from SRI’s “Home Technology Monitor” show that the percentage of online households using a cable modem or DSL connection has risen from 5 percent to 11 percent in the last six months. SRI’s Spring 1999 report found broadband connections to stand at 1 percent.

The proportion of online households accessing the Web via a shared phone line — the most prevalent type of Web connection — dropped 9 percent to 68 percent in the past six months, after staying at a consistent 75 percent from Spring 1998 through Spring 2000.

“Real-world broadband use in the home appears to be on the road to catching up with what seem like years of optimistic predictions,” said David Tice, SRI’s director of client services. “The decline in shared-line connections signals a transition has begun.”


High-Speed Web Picks Up Speed
Connection Type Spring
2000
Fall
2000
Broadband
Total
5% 11%
Cable modem 4% 7%
DSL 1% 3%
Telephone
Connections
94% 89%
Shared line 75% 68%
Dedicated line 19% 21%
Source: SRI

A study by Arbitron found that broadband access in America has put the Internet in a position on par with television and radio, in terms of time spent with the medium. The study, “The Broadband Revolution: How Superfast Internet Access Changes Media Habits,” found that the average American spends 33 percent of his or her typical day with television, 28 percent with radio, and 11 percent with the Internet. In homes with broadband Internet access, however, the Internet’s share of media time surges to 21 percent, equivalent to television (24 percent) and radio (21 percent).

People with broadband access are much bigger consumers of all electronic media and entertainment, spending 22 percent more time with media than those without broadband. This is largely due to increased Internet usage, as people in broadband households spend 134 minutes per day online, 61 percent more than people in dial-up households.

“Broadband catapults the Internet to a position on par with television and radio in terms of media time spent,” said Pierre Bouvard, executive VP of Arbitron. “Half of Americans with broadband report they are making more online purchases now that they have broadband. The study reveals that Americans are very satisfied with broadband service.”

The study also shows that broadband households are twice as likely to try downloading and streaming content from the Internet, and three to four times more likely to do so on a regular basis. For example, 49 percent of those in broadband homes have tried streaming audio, as compared to 20 percent for the US population. Sixteen percent of broadband households report listening to streaming audio in the past week, as compared to four percent on average. People in broadband households are also twice as likely to sample Internet-only audio channels (31 percent) as compared to those in dial-up households (18 percent).

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