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Report: 42% Have Broadband at Home

30 May, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Unlike gasoline, free-market economics is paying dividends for broadband users as high-speed Internet connectivity in the home increased 40% from March 2005 through March 2006, according to a new report.

The study — released May 28 by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Internet & American Life Project — surveyed more than 7,000 U.S. respondents over a two-day period and found that as of March 2006, 42% had high-speed Internet in the home.

Among middle class homes with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 per year, broadband adoption increased 68%, while among African-American homes, high-speed Web use increased 121%. Among English-speaking Latinos, broadband usage increased 46%, and 35% among white (non-Latino) users.

The increase in broadband use has been fueled in part by digital subscriber lines (DSL) and competitive pricing plans offered by phone companies looking to usurp the cable industries' heretofore market domination.

From 2003 to 2005, broadband connections via cable modems dropped from 67% to 50%, while DSL usage increased from 28% to 41%. The study found that 42 million adults use DSL and 34 million subscribers use cable modems. About 6 million high-speed users have wireless broadband connections.

The average monthly DSL user bill fell from $38 to $32, while the average comparative cable modem bill remained unchanged at $41. That said, only 4% of respondents cited price (price discounts) as a motivating factor, compared to 57% who simply wanted a faster connection.

“It seems like the aggressive pricing strategies have had some effect for DSL providers in those middle-income segments,” John Horrigan, associate director for research at Pew, told the Associated Press.

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