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US Broadband Penetration Breaks 50% - August 2004 Bandwidth Report

Summary: For the first time, US broadband broke 50% among active Internet users in July 2004. Broadband share in the US should exceed 70% by November of 2005.

For the first time, U.S. broadband penetration broke 50% among active Internet users in July. US broadband penetration grew by 1.21 percentage points in July, with 50.69% of active Internet users on high-speed connections at home. 49.31% of US home users dial into the Internet with "narrowband" connections of 56Kbps or less. The charts below, derived from Nielsen//NetRatings data, show trends in connection speeds to the Internet for United States users.*

Home Connectivity in the US

As of July 2004, more users in the US connect to the Internet using broadband connections than narrowband. 40.49% use 56Kbps modems, 6.22% use 28/33.3Kbps, and 2.60% use 14.4Kbps modems. In total, 49.31% 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 July 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 the US increased by 1.21 points in July. As of July 2004 broadband penetration was at 50.69%, up from 49.48% in June. This jump of 1.21 points is well above the average increase in broadband of 0.79 points per month from October 1999 to May 2004. Extrapolating the data provided by Nielsen//NetRatings, broadband share in the US should exceed 70% by November of 2005 (see Figure 2).

Broadband Connection Speed Trend - Home Users (US)

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

Figure 2: Broadband Connection Speed Trend - Home Users (US)
Extrapolated 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 July of 2004, of those connected to the Internet, 80.21% of US users at work enjoy a high-speed connection, up from 79.5% in June. 19.79% connect from work at 56Kbps or less (see Figure 3).

Web Connection Speed Trends - Work Users (US)

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

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

Further Reading

Leichtman Research Group
LRG found that, as of the end of the second quarter of 2004, the twenty largest cable and DSL providers in the US - representing about 95% of the market - accounted for over 28.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers. Combined net additions for the second quarter of 2004 totaled 1.7 million subscribers - the fewest net additions of any quarter in the past year.
Nielsen//NetRatings
Provides the US broadband data (percentage of active Internet users) for the Bandwidth Report.

*Note that Nielsen//NetRatings reports the percentage of active Internet users that use broadband from home, not broadband households. NetRatings uses a panel of 40,000 to 50,000 people with software meters installed on their computers. These meters detect connection speeds. Each month they do an enumeration study to call a number of people to calibrate the panel by adjusting weightings to match the population at large.

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By website optimization on 23 Aug 2004 AM

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