Nielsen Numbers Show Broadband Boom

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Broadband users now constitute some 68% of the active Internet population in the United States, according to the latest figures put out by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The Internet media and market-research firm published numbers Tuesday showing broadband homes increasing from 74.3 million in February 2005 to 95.5 million in February 2006, marking a 28% year-over-year increase.

Meanwhile, the overall percentage of Internet homes in the United States has reached 74% of all households. And with more of those connections coming from broadband, the average time users spend at their PC has ramped. Since February 2003, the average PC time per person rose from 25.5 hours per month to 30.5 hours per month, according to the Nielsen figures.

“In broadband consumers' minds, activities such as checking account balances, downloading music, watching streaming video and checking e-mail become just another application of the PC, rather than a separate activity that happens when they log on to the Internet,” Nielsen//NetRatings senior director of media Jon Gibs said.

Another segment that has boomed is online video-sharing sites. Nielsen//NetRatings figures showed that MSN Video (video.msn.com) snared 9.3 million unique visitors in February 2006, a 44% increase compared with last year.

Other services such as Google Video (video.google.com) that have come online in the past year are also doing well, with Google’s site drawing in 6.2 million unique users in February. And video-search engines on iFilm.com (www.ifilm.com) and Yahoo! Inc. (www.yahoo.com) sites had triple-digit growth, luring in 4.3 million and 3.8 million unique visitors for the month, respectively.

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