Move to Broadband Changes How the Web is Surfed

High-speed ISP subscriptions now account for 13 percent of all residential ISP subscriptions in the United States, according to a survey by J.D. Power and Associates, up from just 5 percent in 2000.

This division in the Internet access market caused J.D. Power to separate the dial-up and high-speed segments for its “2001 Internet Service Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction Study”, which found that AT&T WorldNet ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction among dial-up ISPs, while Road Runner took the honors in the high-speed category.

The 13 dial-up ISPs included in the study account for 67 percent of the residential subscriptions in the United States. The 11 high-speed ISPs account for 60 percent of the residential high-speed ISP subscriptions. The remainders of each segment are composed of smaller service providers, including local telephone and cable companies.

“Industry convergence is apparent from the responses we received from both dial-up and high-speed subscribers,” said Steve Kirkeby, senior director of telecommunications at J.D. Power and Associates. “Fifty-eight percent of subscribers in each segment indicate at least some interest in obtaining all of their telecommunications services from a single provider. We’ve also determined that among dial-up subscribers, local telephone and cable TV are nearly tied in preference as to providers that will obtain this larger share of the customer’s wallet. High-speed subscribers more strongly prefer cable television providers.”

More than one in five dial-up subscribers (22 percent) and more than one in four high-speed subscribers (27 percent) are “extremely” or “very likely” to bundle all their telecommunications services if given the opportunity. Among dial-up subscribers who express interest in convergent services, local telephone service providers are mentioned most as the preferred provider for convergent services (26 percent), followed closely by cable TV providers (24 percent). ISPs are mentioned as often as long distance telephone (16 percent each) as a preferred convergent services provider. Among high-speed subscribers who express an interest in convergent services, cable TV providers are mentioned most often as the preferred provider (44 percent), followed by local telephone service providers (17 percent) and Internet service providers (16 percent).

Among current dial-up subscribers surveyed by J.D. Power, 10 percent said they are “extremely” or “very likely” to switch to a DSL and/or cable modem connection in the next six months.

Although email and surfing the Web remain the top two daily activities among both dial-up and high-speed ISP subscribers, J.D. Power found that high-speed subscribers tend to spend more time online than their dial-up counterparts. On average, dial-up ISP respondents report personally spending about 13 hours per week online, with their households spending about 18 hours in aggregate. However, high-speed respondents report personally spending about 16 hours per week online, with others in their households spending about 23 hours per week online.

How Broadband Changes Internet Usage
Before Broadband
January 2001
After Broadband
July 2001
Page Views
2.4 billion 5.5 billion 130%
Pages per Person 757 1,170 55%
Sessions 22.03 27.5 25%
Time Spent Online
per Person

12:21:50 15:14:00 23%
High-speed access includes ISDN, LAN, cable modems and DSL.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

According to data from Nielsen//NetRatings, the number of Web pages viewed by users that switched from narrowband to broadband skyrocketed 130 percent. The number of pages accessed per person jumped 55 percent, while the numbers of sessions increased 25 percent to nearly 28 in July 2001, as compared to 22 in January with a narrowband connection. New broadband users spent 23 percent more time surfing the Web to more than 15 hours after they made the change.

“As early Internet adopters upgrade to broadband, the faster connections are changing their online habits,” said T.S. Kelly, director and principal analyst at NetRatings. “Faster speeds improve the overall online experience, encouraging broadband surfers to explore more sites and spend more time online. All this added activity benefits advertisers, e-commerce sites and content players.”

Nielsen//NetRatings found the number of new broadband users soared 121 percent among home users in July 2001 compared to the same period last year. Nearly 18 million surfers accessed the Internet via a high-speed connection, achieving triple-digit growth during the first half of 2001. Surfers using a 56 Kbps modem still outnumber broadband surfers, but growth for 56 Kbps modems has declined significantly over time.

“The number of broadband users, nearly 18 million people, is at its highest point ever,” Kelly said. “Streaming media is a major driver behind broadband adoption. The movie-on-demand offering, Moviefly, by the major movie studios is an excellent example of the next generation of technology-enabled entertainment.”

Internet Use by Connection Speed
Connection Speed July 2000
July 2001
High Speed 8,003 17,703 121%
56K Modem 49,666 64,290 29%
28.8/33.6K Modem 24,205 15,523 -36%
14.4K Modem 5,304 3,907 -26%
High-speed access includes ISDN, LAN, cable modems and DSL.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

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