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US Broadband Penetration Jumps to 45.2% - US Internet Access Nearly 75% - March 2004 Bandwidth Report

Summary: US broadband adoption jumped to 45.15% in February, up 2.14 percentage points from January 2004. Nearly 75% of Americans have access to the Internet.

Overall, broadband grew by 2.14 percentage points in February, with 45.15% of Internet-connected U.S. households enjoying a high-speed connection. 54.85% of US home users dial into the Internet with "narrowband" connections of 56Kbps or less. Nearly 75% of U.S. households have Internet access at home, according to a Nielsen//NetRatings survey. The charts below, derived from Nielsen//NetRatings, show trends in connection speeds to the Internet for users in the United States.*

Home Connectivity in the US

As of February 2004, most users in the US connect to the Internet using dial-up modems of 56Kbps or less. 44.4% use 56Kbps modems, 7.6% use 28/33.3Kbps, and 2.9% use 14.4Kbps modems. In total, 54.85% of home users in the US connect to the Internet at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 1).

Web Connection Speed Trends - Home Users (US)

Web Connection Speed Trends February 2004 - U.S. home users

Figure 1: Web Connection Speed Trends - Home Users (US)
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

Broadband Growth in the US

Broadband penetration in US homes increased by 2.14 percentage points in February. As of February 2004 broadband penetration was at 45.15%, up from 43.01% in January. This is higher than the average increase in broadband of 0.75 percentage points per month from October 1999 to December 2003. Extrapolating the data provided by Nielsen//NetRatings, we estimate that broadband share in the US should exceed 50% by June of 2004 (see Figure 2).

Broadband Connection Speed Trend - Home Users (US)

Broadband Connection Speed Trend - February 2004 - U.S. home users

Figure 2: Broadband Connection Speed Trend - Home Users (US)
Extrapolated by Web Site Optimization, LLC from Nielsen//NetRatings data

Work Connectivity

Most workers in the US enjoy high-speed connections to the Internet. Most use a high-speed line such as a T1 connection, and share bandwidth between computers connected to an Ethernet network. The speed of each connection decreases as more employees hook up to the LAN. As of February of 2004, of those connected to the Internet, 77.2% of US users at work enjoy a high-speed connection, up 2.1 percentage points from 75.1% in January. 22.8% connect from work at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 3).

Web Connection Speed Trends - Work Users (US)

Web Connection Speed Trends - February 2004 - U.S. work users

Figure 3: Web Connection Speed Trends - Work Users (US)
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings

U.S. Internet Penetration Nearly 75%

Nearly three out of four U.S. households with a phone line have access to the Internet, according to a February 2004 Nielsen//NetRatings survey. In the U.S. 204.3 million people have access to the Internet, or 74.9 percent of the population. Internet access was 66% in February 2003, a nine percentage point rise in one year. Women were found to be slightly more likely to surf the Web than men.

"Women make the majority of purchases and household decisions, so it's no surprise that they are utilizing the Internet as a tool for daily living," said Kenneth Cassar, director of strategic analysis, Nielsen//NetRatings.

Internet access for women between the age of 35 and 54 was 81.7% while 80.2% of men had access in the same age group. For 25 to 34 year olds 77% of women had Internet access while 75.6% of men had access to the Internet.

Further Reading

US Broadband Penetration Crawls to 43% in January - Sweden Tops in Internet Penetration - February 2004 Bandwidth Report
Sweden leads all countries in Internet penetration at 76.9%.
Nielsen//NetRatings
Provides broadband and Internet penetration data.
Three Out of Four Americans Have Access to the Internet (PDF)
Press release from Nielsen//NetRatings with phone survey data on U.S. Internet access plus the top 10 sites, brands, and advertisers. Nielsen//NetRatings, March 18, 2004.
US Net Access - Three out of four ain't bad
According to a February 2004 telephone survey from Nielsen//NetRatings, 204.3 million people, or 74.9 percent of U.S. households with a phone line have Internet access. Women were slightly more likely to surf the Web than their male counterparts. CNET's News.com, Mar. 18, 2004.

*Note: "Users" signifies people connected to the Internet.

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By website optimization on 16 Mar 2004 PM

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