NetRatings: Broadband users a majority in U.S.

A majority of U.S. home Internet users now have broadband, according to a survey by NetRatings.

While the total number of home Internet users has reached a plateau in the U.S., those who do use the Internet are adopting broadband at a rapid pace, according to Marc Ryan, senior director of analysis at the audience measurement company.

In July, there were an estimated 63 million broadband users, or 51% of all home Internet users, compared with 61.3 million dial-up users, 49% of the total. A year earlier, broadband users were just 38% of all home Internet users, at about 42.8 million, and dial-up users were 62%, or about 70.5 million, Ryan said.

Over the same period, the total number of Americans using the Internet at home grew less than 10%, from 113 million in July 2003 to 124 million in July 2004, according to NetRatings. The 2000 U.S. Census listed the total U.S. population at just over 281 million.

Special offers for broadband services, as well as the growing use of multimedia on the Web and the availability of music and video downloads, drove Internet users to the faster service, Ryan said.

"In order to truly experience the Internet at its best these days, a broadband connection is almost a must," Ryan said.

Broadband was most prevalent among people ages 18 to 20, 59% of whom used the faster technology, according to NetRatings. The second-highest broadband rate was among children ages 2 to 11, at 58%. A majority of home Internet users over age 50 still use narrowband, the company said.

NetRatings, based in New York and Milpitas, Calif., used a panel of 50,000 participants selected through calls to randomly generated phone numbers. Each participating household provides a profile of the users in the home, and a device connected to each Internet-linked PC in the home logs where those users go on the Internet. Users have to log in to identify themselves when they start using the computer, Ryan said.

This story, "NetRatings: Broadband users a majority in U.S." was originally published by IDG News Service .

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