One-Third of Online Americans Surfing at High Speeds

Nearly one-third (31 percent) of American Internet users have broadband access at home, work or school according to a study by Arbitron Inc. and media research firm Coleman.

The study, “Broadband Revolution 2: The Media World of Speedies,” found that 64 percent of Internet users who have broadband access (identified as “speedies” in the report) are connected through their workplace and 37 percent) have access at home. In addition, there is little overlap between those with broadband at work and at home, the study found. Of consumers with access to broadband at home and/or work, 58 percent have access only at work; 27 percent have broadband access only at home. Only 15 percent have access at both locations.

“With broadband, most of the attention has been focused on the growth of the residential market, but the large number of Internet users who have broadband at work represents a larger potential market for streaming audio and video providers,” said Warren Kurtzman, vice president of Coleman. “Radio and television broadcasters can extend their brands and bring compelling content to consumers in exciting new ways by concentrating on speedies at work in addition to at home.”

More importantly for those with a stake in widespread broadband access, the study found that college students with broadband access are likely to get residential broadband service in the future. More than one-third (38 percent) of college “speedies” say they are either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to get broadband at home if they were no longer in school. Nearly one-quarter (22 percent) use broadband as a source of entertainment.

In contrast, work “speedies” are even more likely to think of the Internet as a source of information (82 percent) versus entertainment (8 percent). Overall, three-quarters of all speedies view the Internet as a source of information.

“We believe that today’s college market is an early indicator of how consumers will embrace broadband in the near future,” said Bill Rose, general manager and vice president of Arbitron Webcast Services. “Since college students are more likely to view the Internet as an entertainment medium it will be crucial for the industry to develop compelling new forms of online entertainment in order to drive broadband adoption.”

Media Use by Broadband Users
Medium Time Spent
Radio 2:28
Internet 2:16
Television 2:11
Pre-recorded music 1:25
Source: Arbitron/Coleman

Broadband users spend as much time online as they do with radio or television. On average, speedies report using the Internet for two hours and 16 minutes in a typical day. Radio is the most heavily used traditional broadcast medium among speedies, with an average two hours and 28 minutes daily listening, followed by television viewing with two hours and 11 minutes daily and pre-recorded music listening with one hour and 25 minutes.

Overall, 45 percent of all speedies report at least some instances of media multitasking — consuming more than one media at the same time. One of five (20 percent) media multitaskers frequently listen to prerecorded music on CDs, tapes or record when at a computer. Among home broadband users, 63 percent have a television in the same room as their broadband connection, with 40 percent of them frequently watching while using the Internet.

The further proliferation of broadband Internet access will open the doors for the convergence of traditionally offline entertainment and online services. A study by Centris found that not only are broadband households 60 percent more likely to make a purchase over the Web, but they spend an average of 38 percent more than are dial-up households.

On average, broadband households pay nearly twice what dial-up households do each month for their Web connection ($35.40 vs. $18.05), Centris found, but they can afford to, as twice as many broadband than dial-up households have an annual income in excess of $100,000.

Broadband households also consume a lot of movies and video and have higher cable, digital cable and pay penetration (less DBS), more DVD activity and a 30 percent greater likelihood of ordering pay per view. DSL households are less TV oriented than are cable modem households — they have fewer televisions and big screen TVs, less VHS rental activity, less cable penetration (twice as many former cable subs) and less video game involvement. However, there is higher DBS penetration in DSL households with more PC devices in the home such as MP3 players an digital cameras.

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