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FCC Study: Cable Dominates Broadband

12/17/2002 9:07 AM Eastern

Broadband is still is a cable majority, but the pace of adoption appears to be slowing, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission.

Although based on data more than six months old, the FCC nevertheless found that cable operators claim 57 percent of the broadband market as of June 30, topping 9.2 million connections. Rival telcos' digital-subscriber-line services, by comparison, topped 5.1 million.

But overall, the pace of increase is slowing. High-speed lines to homes and businesses increased 27 percent for the first six months of this year, compared with a 33 percent growth rate in the second half of 2001. For cable, that translated to a growth rate dropping from 36 percent to 30 percent, while DSL's growth pace dropped from 47 percent to just 29 percent.

While connections are still more widespread in more densely populated areas, rural areas are seeing some broadband gains. High-speed connections are found in 99 percent of the most densely populated areas and in 50 percent of the least-populated areas, compared with 98 percent and 37 percent, respectively, in the second half of 2001.

Similarly, while high-speed connections are still more prevalent among the wealthy, they are becoming more a part of lower-income households, according to the study. The percentage of low-income areas with broadband connections rose from 59 percent to 69 percent in the first six months, while the percentage in high-income areas rose from 96 percent to 98 percent.

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The Times Center, New York, NY