Pew: Broadband Growing, Not Slowing

The Pew Center for the Internet & American Life had formerly argued that broadband growth was slowing and/or had plateaued. Now, a report released late last week says that isn’t the case:

Home broadband adoption grew by 40% from March 2005 to March 2006, twice the growth rate of the year before. Growth in broadband adoption has been very strong in middle-income households, and particularly fast for African Americans and those with low levels of education.

What this means is that broadband growth has actually accelerated. And the broadband population is starting to look more like the US as a whole, rather than just the high-income, high education population where penetration is highest.

Pew says that broadband is now 59% of the Internet population, or 42% of the US population as a whole. Nielsen, by contrast, says that broadband is now in 68% of US Internet households.

Pew attributes growth partly to inexpensive DSL connections and now claims that DSL lines (from Telcos) are more prevalent than cable hookups in the home.

There are more interesting data and findings in the report, among them that there’s a correlation between at-home broadband and creation of online content:

  • Today, broadband users living in households earning under $50,000 in annual household income are slightly more likely than those in higher-income homes to say they put content online – by a 46% to 41% margin.
  • User-generated content is driven by young home high-speed users. Fully 51% of “under 30” home broadband users have posted content to the internet compared with 36% of home high-speed users older than 30.

Note to traditional media: assume near-100% at-home US broadband penetration within 3 years – and all the related user-behaviors.

You can obtain a copy of the report here.

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Related: The WSJ (sub. req'd) reports on a Harris poll on the number of US adults online:

Approximately 77% of Americans are now online, up from 74% in the previous poll in 2005, and compared with 57% back in 2000. When Harris first began to track Internet use in 1995, only 9% of U.S. adults reported they went online. The latest survey of 2,032 adults, shows 70% are now online at home, up from 66% in 2005 and 55% in the spring of 2002. Just over a third of U.S. adults say they are online at work, little changed from a year ago. Adults who are online at a location other than their home or work also remains steady at 22%.

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