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Study: Two-Thirds of World Mobile Subscribers - US Broadband Penetration Grows to 95.1% Among Active Internet Users - February 2010 Bandwidth Report

Summary: Over two-thirds of the world's inhabitants have a mobile subscription, which is driving more Internet users to use wireless broadband connections.Google and the FCC propose higher speed networks to increase competitiveness.

Over two-thirds of the world's population have a mobile phone subscription, according to a recent report by the ITU. Mobile subscriptions drive wireless broadband growth, with mobile broadband growing faster than fixed broadband lines and second only to mobile phone growth itself. Meanwhile in the US, broadband penetration grew to 95.1% among active Internet users in January 2010.

Two-Thirds of World are Mobile Subscribers

There were an estimated 4.6 billion mobile cellular subscriptions by the end of 2009, corresponding to 67 subscribers per 100 inhabitants globally. By the end of 2009, mobile cellular penetration in developing countries passed the 50 per cent mark reaching an estimated 57 per 100 inhabitants, more than doubling since 2005 when it stood at 23 per cent. Developed countries have a mobile penetration rate that exceeds 100 per cent. Mobile subscriptions drive mobile technology use, with mobile broadband subscriptions up to 9.5% of the world's inhabitants at the end of 2009. Mobile broadband growth eclipsed fixed broadband growth in 2009, and was second only to mobile phone subscriptions.

Home Connectivity in the US

US broadband penetration grew to 95.11% among active Internet users in January 2010. Dial-up users connecting at 56Kbps or less now make up 4.89% of active Internet users (see Figure 1).

Web Connection Speed Trends February 2010 - U.S. home users

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

Broadband Growth Trends in the US

In January 2010, broadband penetration among active Internet users in US homes grew to 95.11%, up 0.56 percentage points fron 94.55% in December (see Figure 2).

Broadband Penetration Growth Trend - January 2010 - U.S. home users

Figure 2. Broadband Adoption Growth Trend - Home Users (US)
Extrapolated from Nielsen data

Work Connectivity

As of January 2010, 98.49% of US workers connected to the Internet with broadband, down 0.14 percentage points from 98.63% in December 2009. Only 1.51% still connect at 56Kbps or less from work (see Figure 3).

Web Connection Speed Trends - January 2010 - U.S. work users

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

Further Reading

FCC Plans for 100M Bps to 100 Million Households
The FCC's National Broadband Plan
aims to bring 100M bps (bits per second) Internet service to 100 million homes by 2020. PC World, Feb. 16, 2010.
New ITU report shows global uptake of ICTs increasing, prices falling
By the end of 2009 there were 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions globally, corresponding to a penetration rate of 67 percent, the ITU's annual report on developments in the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector showed. Mobile broadband is growing faster than fixed broadband subscribers, second only to cell phone growth. 9.5 percent of global inhabitants were on mobile broadband connections. Intenational Telecommunication Union, Feb. 23, 2010.
Next Generation Connectivity
An exhastive study of the spread of broadband throughout the world by The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. Using existing literature and studies about broadband deployment and usage throughout the world and this project helped inform the FCC's efforts in developing the National Broadband Plan. Harvard University, Feb. 16, 2010.
Think big with a gig: Our experimental fiber network
Google is building a 1GB/s ultra high-speed broadband network. Feb. 10, 2010, Google. See also Vancouver Sun article on Google's High-Speed Broadband Network.
Provided the US broadband penetration data for active Internet users for the Bandwidth Report.

By website optimization on 28 Feb 2010 PM

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