Report: Online Users Have a Need for Speed

As the number of Internet users increases, so does the
desire for a faster connection, according to a survey conducted by
research firm the Yankee Group.

Forty-one percent of Net surfers were very interested in high-speed
Internet access and an additional 43 percent were somewhat interested.
Those numbers are up from last year, when only 25 percent of online
households wanted faster connections.

The survey also found that users are more willing to pay more for the
high-speed data connections.
Thirty-six percent of online households are willing to pay $40 per month —
the typical price for cable modem service — for high-speed access, up from
27 percent last year.

Cable and telephone companies are only beginning to offer fast access. The
Yankee Group estimates that about 300,000 subscribers can now receive
high-speed Internet service, with telephone companies servicing fewer
subscriber with Digital Subscriber Line service.

“From year to year, we have seen that there are more households going
online and in those households, more willingness to pay for the advantages
of (speed),” says Bruce Leichtman, director of media and
entertainment strategies at the Yankee Group. “It’s now up to the cable
operators and telephone companies to respond.”

There is opportunity for either party to emerge, as nearly half of the
respondents currently don’t know which service they would prefer.

“Today, cable operators have a nearly exclusive window to sell their cable
modem service before DSL becomes more of a consumer reality,” Leichtman
added. “Cable operators should take advantage of this opportunity while it
lasts, and move quickly to market their services.”

The fast Internet market is slated to boom in the next few years. The
Yankee Group predicted that households subscribing to high-speed access
will grow from fewer than 500,000 today to 7 million by 2002.

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