Users of iTunes grew by 47.5% over the past year, while the other streaming media players had single-digit growth. At current growth rates iTunes users will exceed RealPlayer users by the second quarter of 2007 (see Figure 1). European broadband growth has decreased in recent months. US broadband growth slowed a bit in January, growing by 0.62% percentage points to 79.1% among active Internet users.
The UK passed Japan and the US in broadband penetration in the first quarter of 2006 (see Figure 1). Among G7 countries, only Canada had a higher broadband penetration rate, according to a recent broadband survey by OECD. The UK’s faster growth rate, over twice that of Japan, propelled it past Japan around March of 2006 (see Figure 2). Meanwhile in the US, broadband growth slowed in October, growing only 0.27% percentage points to 76.6% among active Internet users over the past month.
Sixty-four million people now have broadband access across the 25 countries of the European Union – but the gap between the best and worst performers is widening (see Figure 1). Denmark, the Netherlands, and Finland lead the European Union in broadband penetration while Greece, Slovakia, and Poland trail according to a recent broadband survey by ECTA. Back in the US, broadband penetration among active Internet users neared 75% in August 2006.
Despite leading the world in broadband subscribers, the US dropped from 17th to 20th place in broadband penetration over the past year (see Figures 1 & 2). Due to its slower growth rate the US fell behind Sweden, the UK, and even tiny Luxembourg in broadband uptake from March 2005 to March 2006, according to Point Topic. Meanwhile, US broadband penetration among active Internet users grew 1.34 percentage points to 73.1% in June 2006.
President Bush’s goal of universal broadband access for all Americans by 2007 appears to be overly optimistic, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. The GAO study found that only 28% of Americans had broadband in 2005.
At its current growth rate of over 90% per year, China will pass the US in total broadband subscribers by late 2006 to become the largest broadband country in the world. The US has fallen to 19th overall in household broadband penetration, and is in danger of being passed by Slovenia in early 2007. Israel leads all Middle Eastern and African countries, and is the third country overall in broadband penetration. Hong Kong leads the Pacific Rim, with a broadband penetration rate of over 73%. Meanwhile, in December 2005 the US passed 65% in broadband penetration among active Internet users.
Overall, broadband grew by 0.15 percentage points in January, with 43% of Internet-connected U.S. households enjoying a high-speed connection. 57% of US home users dial into the Internet with “narrowband” connections of 56Kbps or less. Sweden leads all countries in Internet penetration at 76.9%.
How fast are most connection speeds in the US and Europe? In this month’s Bandwidth Report we review European broadband penetration trends and find Spain ahead of all countries surveyed.