Survey: Broadband Hitting Growth Plateau?


Broadband is humming in 30 million American households now, but there are
signs that its growth rate may be throttling down, according to a new report
from the Pew Internet & American Life Project issued Monday.

The report found a 50 percent boost in broadband Internet connections between
March 2002 and March 2003, with broadband now humming in 31 percent of U.S.
Internet households.

On the downside, the survey found that fewer experienced dial-up users --
considered a prime upgrade target -- are saying they want broadband compared
with a year ago.

In March 2002, 53% of users who have been online at least six years said they
wanted to move to broadband, but that percentage dropped to 43% this March. The
experienced dial-up users willing to move to broadband represent 13% of the
total dial-up population.

Also, users who said they are most likely to jump into broadband also said it
isn't available in their neighborhood.

In a separate survey of 1,677 Americans in October 2002, Pew researchers
found that 57% of dial-up users said they have no interest in getting faster
connections, while 38% said they did. But the numbers reversed in areas where
broadband isn't available, with 61% saying they would like to upgrade to
broadband and 35% saying they don't.

Cable continues its connection lead over digital-subscriber-line competitors,
and there are indications that the gap is widening.

The Pew survey found a slight shift toward cable-modem service in the past
year, as it rose from 63% of total broadband connections in March 2002 to 67%
now. DSL's connection percentage dropped from 34% in 2002 to 28%.

In all there are 21 million cable-modem customers now compared with 13
million a year ago, and DSL users have grown from 7 million to 9 million in that
time period.