Study: Broadband Dominates Surf Time

Even though fewer people use broadband, they make up more than half the time spent surfing the Internet for the first time ever, according to a new report from Nielsen//Netratings .

A January survey by the Milpitas, Calif.-based metrics site found broadband surfers logged 1.19 billion hours, accounting for 51 percent of the 2.3 billion hours spent online during the month. That blows last year’s numbers out of the water if you consider at the time broadband users spent 727 million hours online, accounting for 38 percent of the total time spent online.

For their dial-up counterparts, Nielsen//Netratings found narrowband users spent less time: 1.14 billion hours online this year compared to 1.18 billion last year.

Dial-up is still the king of all Internet access, with some 82.0 million people logging on from home this year. But that number has slipped 6 percent from last year when 87.0 million people connected through their phone lines.

On the other side, the number of people jumping on the broadband-wagon is growing. Nearly 21.9 million surfers at-home accessed the Internet via broadband connection in January, skyrocketing 67 percent. That accounts for 21 percent of the total online population at-home.

During the same time period, the at-work broadband population jumped 42 percent to 25.5 million office workers, as compared to 18 million the year prior, reaching 63 percent of the Internet office population.

Analysts say the report is a validation of broadband’s existence and encouraging future.

“Broadband usage has hit mainstream, with time spent online by broadband surfers surpassing the critical 50 percent benchmark,” says NetRatings senior Internet media analyst Jarvis Mak. “Increasingly, online business models will be built and marketed with the broadband surfer in mind. The growth and development of broadband will create a more interactive and robust online experience, impacting e-commerce, streaming media and overall Internet content.”

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