Broadband Based On Behavior

Intensive online activities are likely the cause for conversion from dial-up to broadband for many Internet users, according to research from Pew Internet & American Life Project, as the research firm recognized a correlation between specific online behaviors and the need for high-speed access.

Pew found that broadband users are extraordinarily active information gatherers, multimedia users, and content creators, and dial-up users with 6 or more years online that engage in similar activities are most likely to switch to high-speed. In fact, Pew found that of those dial-up users who are contemplating broadband, 43 percent logged 6 or more years online, compared to 30 percent of those online for 3 years or less.

Greater disparities in these behaviors are seen between less experienced dial-up users and those with broadband connections.

Daily Internet Activities
News 41% 35% 23%
Research for Work 30% 30% 15%
Participation in Group 12% 11% 4%
Content Creation 11% 9% 3%
Stream Multimedia 21% 13% 7%
Download Music 13% 3% 3%
Source: Pew Internet & American Life Project

The 13 percent of dial-up users that are considering conversion are more likely to subscribe to cable modem, as cable currently accounts for 67 percent of the U.S. broadband connections — up from 63 percent in a March 2002 survey.

DSL subscriptions dropped 6 points from 2002 to 28 percent of the broadband market, but despite the penetration decline, DSL users grew from 7 million to 9 million over the year.

A trend to watch is the number of users who connect wirelessly, as their numbers have doubled from 2002 — 4 percent or roughly 1.4 million users now surf without wires.

Similar analysis of the broadband market comes from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG), revealing that the top cable operators account for over 12.25 million broadband Internet subscribers, maintaining a 64 percent share of the market versus DSL.

LRG found that the top cable providers acquired 65 percent of the net broadband additions for the first quarter of 2003, adding 1.23 million broadband Internet subscribers in the quarter compared to 650,000 added by the major DSL providers.

U.S. Broadband Picture, 1Q 2003
  Subscribers at end
of 1Q 2003
Net Adds in 1Q 2003
Top Cable Modem Providers 12,263,043 1,226,265
Top DSL Providers 6,805,000 650,918
TOTAL 19,068,043 1,877,183
Note: Top cable and DSL providers represent approximately 98% of all subscribers.
Source: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

“Both cable and DSL had record setting quarters in the first quarter of 2003, but cable continued the trend of adding nearly twice as many subscribers as DSL,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

Leichtman noted that lower priced offerings recently introduced by major DSL providers might impact cable’s dominance in the second quarter of 2003.

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