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RealTime IT News

Study: Broadband Access Soars

The bandwidth is bulging in the U.S., and 56K modem use has exploded to become the most used access mechanism in the home market.

According to Milpitas-based audience measurement service, Nielsen//NetRatings, nearly 12 million home Web users accessed the Internet with a high-speed connection in December 2000 (including DSL, ISDN and cable modem), compared to five million during the same period last year.

That's an increase of 148% among home users, whom T.S. Kelly, director of Internet Media Strategies at the firm, says are hungry for access to streaming media, making increased accessibility and customer service in the high-speed markets an absolute necessity.

"Streaming media is one of the chief incentives prompting users to switch to high-speed Web access, which is fast becoming the must-have service in the home," says Kelly. "That said, improvements in quality, ease-of-use, and accessibility must continue if streaming consumption is to become as commonplace as broadcast or cable television."

Access is also exploding in secondary markets, according to the study, with 56 Kbps modems now making up more than 59% of all home Internet connections, leaping to nearly 58 million homes in December 2000. Conversely, the number of home users dialing in on 28.8 or 14.4 Kbps modems has dropped 27 and 20% respectively.

"Despite the current attention focused on broadband, nearly 60% of the home Web audience logs online via a 56 Kbps modem," says Kelly. "Modems connecting at 56 Kbps are still in growth mode, partly propelled by the free ISP movement."

Internet Connection Speeds, Unique Audience for Dec. 99 vs. Dec. 00 (U.S., Home)

Composition % Composition % % Change in
Speed UA, Dec. 99 Dec. 99 UA, Dec. 00 Dec. 00 UA, 99 vs. 00
Modem 14.4 Kbps 6,085,496 8.3% 4,842,498 5.0% -20.4%
Modem 28.8/33.6 Kbps 31,602,183 43.1% 22,959,580 23.6% -27.3%
Modem 56 Kbps 30,911,501 42.2% 57,898,012 59.4% 87.3%
High-Speed Access 4,724,677 6.4% 11,704,581 12.0% 147.7%