April 27, 2007, 12:00 AM

Worldwide Internet access shifts decisively to high speed, new report says

78% of all online consumers worldwide access the Internet through a broadband connection, says a new report from research company Ipsos Insight. That`s up 41% in only three years—in 2003, 56% of users accessed the Internet via broadband.

A stunning 78% of all online consumers worldwide access the Internet through a broadband connection, a new report from research company Ipsos Insight says. That`s up 41% in only three years-in 2003, 56% of users accessed the Internet via broadband. Not surprisingly, Ipsos predicts that broadband adoption has just about topped out.

“Over the past several years we have witnessed a significant migration within the online population to broadband access technologies,” says Brian Cruikshank, executive vice president and managing director of Ipsos Insight`s technology & communications practice. “Most of these users were either upgrading from dial-up connections or were new users that jumped straight to broadband access to get online. With fewer dial-up users to convert in the future, and fewer new users to capture, broadband’s mercurial growth may begin to plateau in many developed markets in the near future.”

Ipsos reported its findings in its latest report, “The Face of the Web 2006,” based on interviews in 12 global markets with more than 6,553 adults, including 3,798 active Internet users at the end of last year.

Worldwide, 45% of Internet users accessed the web via DSL, 22% by cable, 11% by optical fiber and 9% by ISDN; all are high-speed methods. 20% connected via dial-up, 15% by wireless and 6% registered other/don’t know.

The U.S. lags the rest of the world in high-speed access, with 71% of Internet users accessing the Internet via broadband. In the U.S., cable connections accounted for 30% of Internet access, while DSL accounted for 33%.

Japan is the most high-speed nation in the world, with 89% of users connecting via broadband, 11% via wireless and none through dial-up. At the other end, 52% of Russian Internet users connect via dial-up, 26% via high speed, 18% via wireless and 4% other/don’t know.

Ipsos concludes wireless Internet access offers great untapped potential. While it accounts for only 15% of access today, 34% of households worldwide own laptop computers, which are prime candidates for wireless access.

“In addition, the prevalence of mobile Internet browsing-surfing the web on a wireless handheld device such as a cell phone or smart phone-also continues to climb globally; at the end of 2006, 31% of adults had accessed the Internet on a wireless mobile device,” Cruikshank says. “Also, in many underdeveloped nations, which collectively represent the industry’s untapped market for Internet user volume, some online adults are beginning to leapfrog high-speed tethered connections, such as cable and DSL, and opt for wireless access/service to connect to the Internet simply because that’s where the access opportunities are emerging within these markets.”

Ipsos reported the following broadband penetration in the countries it surveyed:
• Japan, 89%
• Germany, 84%
• South Korea, 80%
• China, 79%
• United States, 71%
• Canada, 71%
• France, 70%
• UK, 57%
• Brazil, 46%
• India, 40%
• Mexico, 34%
• Russia, 26%

The figures for China, Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia are based on surveys of urban consumers.

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