Residential drives broadband usage

* Report: Broadband to remain primarily a residential service over next few years

Did you know that 23.7 million U.S. households and 3.2 million businesses subscribed to broadband services at the end of 2003? That's one of the many fascinating facts found in a recent report published by the U.S. Telecom Association.

The report - "Broadband Facts 2004: The Industry by the Numbers" - has more than 50 pages of statistics and projections on the use of high-speed Internet services here and abroad. In the next few issues of the ISP News Report, I will highlight some of the study's most interesting data.

The broadband subscriber data was compiled by In-Stat/MDR in March 2004 and presented in the USTA report. In-Stat/MDR forecasts that by 2008 more than 51 million U.S. households and 8 million businesses will subscribe to broadband services. These figures represent the more than doubling of broadband subscribers over the five-year period from 2003 to 2008. On a year-to-year basis, these figures represent a compound annual growth rate of 17.1%.

Despite the development of more business-oriented broadband services, broadband will remain primarily a residential service over the next few years, In-Stat/MDR predicts. Driving broadband usage in the home will be such emerging applications as voice over IP and online gaming, In-Stat/MDR says.

As far as overall Internet access is concerned, In-Stat/MDR estimates that 73.6 million U.S. households were online in 2003, with 32% of those households using broadband and the rest using dial-up access. That figure will grow to 89.6 million in 2008, with 57% subscribing to broadband services and the rest remaining with dial-up services.

Most U.S. households have chosen cable modem service as their broadband technology, but In-Stat/MDR predicts significant growth in the alternative DSL service. Worldwide, DSL dominates broadband, with 63 million active DSL subscribers in 2003. In-Stat/MDR predicts that the DSL subscriber base will reach 159 million worldwide by 2008.

The Asia-Pacific region dominates DSL deployment with more than half of the total subscribers worldwide. For example, Japan and China each have more than 10 million users. In contrast, the U.S. has 9.3 million active DSL lines, In-Stat/MDR says.

However, DSL sales in the U.S. are picking up, with 3 million new subscribers signing up in 2003. In-Stat/MDR predicts that DSL usage in the U.S. will grow from 9.3 million in 2003 to 20.3 million in 2008. That increase represents a compound annual growth rate of 16.9%.

To purchase USTA's Broadband Facts report, visit http://www.telecom-bookstore.com/ .

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Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.