August 19, 2009, 12:00 AM

Broadband access gains a much broader reach

Nationwide, 89% of Internet households go online via a broadband connection, comScore reports. In metro areas of 50,000 or more in population, the rate is 92% while in rural areas it’s 75%.

Broadband Internet access is now nearly universal, with rural areas closing the gap with metropolitan areas, says a new report from Internet audience measurement company comScore Inc. Nationwide, 89% of Internet households go online via a broadband connection.

“Across the country we have witnessed growth in broadband adoption driven by greater price competition and increased consumer demand, as bandwidth-intense activities like video streaming and peer-to-peer sharing continue to grow,” says Brian Jurutka, vice president of telecommunications at comScore. “With low-speed DSL priced at about the same level as dial-up in many areas, there is little incentive for households to remain on dial-up.”

ComScore reports that as of June 30:

  • 92% of Internet homes in metropolitan areas (with a population of 50,000 or more) are on broadband, up from 87% a year ago and 81% two years ago,
  • 83% of Internet homes in areas with population of 10,000-50,000 are on broadband, up from 76% a year ago and 69% two years ago,
  • 75% of rural area Internet homes are on broadband, up from 66% a year ago and 59% two years ago.
Of the five largest metro areas, comScore reports:
  • New York has the greatest broadband penetration at 96%,
  • Chicago is second at 92%,
  • Philadelphia and San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose have 89% each,
  • Los Angeles is at 87%.
Levels of penetration have taken on a new interest, comScore notes, because rural broadband penetration was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed earlier this year. The Recovery Act provided $7.2 billion to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service to accelerate broadband deployment in areas that have been without broadband. A national broadband plan is due to go before Congress next February.

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