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Pew Broadband Study

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Broadband usage up 50% in the last year, but cost and availability may slow growth:

    Roughly 31 million Americans — about 31 percent of whom use the Web at home — access the Internet through cable modems, digital subscriber lines (DSL) or satellite dishes, according to the study, which surveyed 1,495 people in March and which was released yesterday. In less than three years, the number of people with high-speed connections increased fivefold, it said.

    But there are indications that interest may be waning. In a survey done in October 2002, 57 percent of people who still access the Internet through dial-up lines said they had no interest in upgrading to a faster connection, even if they live in areas where it is available.

    ….There is still interest, however, among those who say they don’t have easy access to high-speed service. The October 2002 study found that 61 percent of such dial-up users said they would subscribe to either a cable or DSL service if it were available.

    Unlike South Korea or Canada, where nearly half the population has high-speed connections, the U.S. broadband market looks as though it may start to stall, said John B. Horrigan, senior researcher at the Pew project, and author of the study.

    “The biggest barrier is still availability,” Horrigan said.

    Price is another issue for some prospective customers, which is why Verizon Communications Inc. last week announced it will reduce prices for DSL service, a move that Horrigan said could spur cable companies to lower their prices, and stimulate more people to buy broadband. [Washington Post]

For those who use the Internet for email and chat, there probably isn’t a need, but for anyone who uses the Internet to gather or exchange information, or especially, entertainment, broadband is pretty much necessary. And don’t forget AOL is now behind the switch to broadband.

About Eric Olsen