January 9, 2004, 12:00 AM

Broadband Internet access stretches toward the 50% mark

Nielsen/NetRatings reports that 49.5 million, or 38% of all home web users, now connect to the Internet via broadband. Knowledge Networks/SRI`s The Home Technology Monitor reports that 49% of households with annual incomes over $75,000 have broadband.

Broadband Internet access is becoming mainstream--especially among high-income households. Two reports out this week document the rapid acceptance of broadband Internet access.

Internet audience measurement company Nielsen/NetRatings reports that 49.5 million, or 38% of all home Internet users, now connect to the Internet via broadband. Broadband users grew 27%, 10 million, from May through November last year. During the same period narrowband usage has remained flat at 69.6 million.

"Moving to a high speed connection opens the door to a number of new content possibilities, driving further evolution of the Internet and facilitating bandwidth-intensive applications like digital music downloading," says Marc Ryan, director of analysis, Nielsen/NetRatings.

The increased number of broadband connections is spurring the use of rich media in advertising, including on-demand video and Flash-based content, Nielsen/NetRatings says. In November, 17% of all online advertising impressions were rich media ads vs. 7% in November 2002. Non-rich media ads decreased to an 83% share in November 2003 from 93% in November 2002.

Also out this week is a survey from Knowledge Networks/SRI`s The Home Technology Monitor showing that 49% of households with annual incomes over $75,000 have broadband Internet connections. That level is up 25% from the 40% of high-income households that had such access in the spring.

"These findings suggest that, while Internet growth overall has slowed, high-income homes are taking this medium to the next level," the report says. "The result may be a greater capacity to use the Internet as a marketing and selling tool reaching the most desirable consumers." The 49% consists of 31% who have cable modems and 18% using DSL connections.

Knowledge Networks/SRI`s survey reported slightly different numbers for total broadband connectivity at 34%. It also reports that 64% of broadband users report having shopped on the Internet in the past 60 days vs. 42% of dial-up users. The data are based on a survey of 1,526 households in August and September.

 

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